Are you single? Desperate for a partner/ spouse? Well, don’t be in too much of a hurry.

UK news site, “Independent” published an article on a professor that argues single people: “live their best, most authentic and most meaningful life”.At an annual convention by the American Psychological Association in Denver, Colorado, Professor Bella DePaulo of University of California, Santa Barbara, said that she wanted to defy the idea that married people were happier and healthier, which has been suggested over the years by numerous health professionals. Summarising 800 studies over 30 years, DePaulo argued:

The available findings are telling. For example, research comparing people who have stayed single with those who have stayed married shows that single people have have a heightened sense of self – determination and are more likely to experience ‘a sense of continual growth and development’ as a person.

According to DePaulo, single people also:

  • value work
  • show self – efficiency
  • were less likely to experience negative feelings

Apparently, studies indicated that coupled people show the opposite results. I find it a bit ironic that this has come about the same time of the #LoveYourSpouse trend has been spreading on Facebook like wildfire over the past couple of days, where married and engaged people post pictures of selfies, wedding photos, older marriage photos, etc with declarations of love and friendship toward their spouses/ fiances.

 

From what I can tell, there are mixed conclusions in the marriage vs. single debate, which is bound to happen, I guess. What will make it easier for everyone (married, separated, divorced, always – been – single, etc), is if single people were respected like married people. If we didn’t make marriage into a sort of “golden calf” – a standard that everyone has to have and, not only that, has to appear perfect to the outside world, especially on social media. Both single and partnered people face challenges. Both have ups and downs. Sometimes, married people probably sometimes wish they remained single, and single people wish they were partnered. We should respect both groups.

The idolisation of marriage should not further marginalise groups that already face unfair and discriminatory attitudes by society. Asexual people are a classic example. Although many asexual people do form romantic relationships and some even marry, those who don’t desire a romantic relationship for whatever reason, can be looked down upon.It’s very common for asexual people to feel “broken” before realising their asexual due to (at least historically), a severe lack of discussion about asexuality. Fortunately, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) has proved to be a useful resource for people who identify, or suspect they’re asexual since it’s launch in 2001.

 

Lastly, other relationships can be meaningful too and this also needs to be acknowledged. Friends, immediate family, extended family, etc maybe all people need – either for a short while or all their lives. That’s cool. It should be OK for people to express a desire for that and nothing more. Also, we may not need studies to suggest that one is better than the other. If people are living their “best life’ – however that looks for a particular person, than that should be good enough.

 

 

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