The New Normal: Single, But Not Lonely

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The New Normal: Single, But Not Lonely

by Olessia Kantor
Relationships Loneliness Single Life Single Friends

Can you spot the hick up?

She has an ideal body, slim waste and pumped up butt. Velvety tropical sun-kissed skin. She doesn’t want money from men – she is all set: high power job that allows her to get herself anything she could ever want, she has amazing character. It seems like she’s got it all. But do you know where the hick up is?

…She is over 35 and totally not interested in getting married.

Some might wonder why? Is there something wrong with her? 

He has an income above average, his own business and all the material perks one can think of. He is hot, works out daily, and when he takes his shirt off, girl don't hesitate to take a second look. They are all over him, trying to seduce with the hope of a marital bond. But he goes to the clubs with… friends. He says he is not a family guy.

We've heard it all before. If a woman is single, there's something wrong with her: she's ugly, or loose, or has a nasty temper.

Unmarried men raise suspicions as well. Why the hell is he alone? Could it be that he's temperamental, or has problems in the bedroom? 

This was the narrative of dating and relationships as I was growing up. However, nowadays, it’s a different story.

Have you noticed that more and more smart, beautiful and successful people choose to stay single? They voluntarily opt out of coupling up, or if they do have relationships, they keep them casual. 

I call them the lone people of the highest grade.

What did happen in the last decades? What events turned the familiar scenario of yesteryear upside down? Why don’t people who have reached the highest echelons of our world have any interest in the bonds of marriage?

Here's how I've made sense of it: 

The change in the age-life progression ratio.
The way a young person's life progresses is very different than what our lives were like growing up. They have the tendency to wait until they've completed their educations and have a career in place before they talk marriage. People simply don't get married as young as they used to. These are the people who crave absolute stability, however hard that may be for them to find, and have lifestyles they are not willing to sacrifice. It is harder and harder to find the time for someone else, let alone the energy necessary to make a relationship thrive.

Think of it in terms of athleticism. The younger you start at an athletic ability, the easier it comes. Why is that? Mainly, because flexibility diminishes with age. There's a huge difference between doing a split at 5 and 35 . The same is true of relationships, in a sense. In order to understand and accept one another, it is not necessary to be mature but crucial to be flexible, and as the years pass, the flexibility diminishes. This could explain why many older people believe that it's better to have been married and failed one or two times by 35 than to have never married at all.

Capitalism is the best contraceptive.
A society that is satisfaction-oriented makes the idea of a family obsolete. Think about it – only 35-40 years ago, where could a single woman go? What choices did she have really? Now, a thousand doors are flung open in biggest metropolises as the night comes. Nightlife not only exists, but is everywhere– bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants, and that's not mentioning travel opportunities. Business owners have taken notice that there's money to be made by serving these satisfaction-centric, independent people, and for those people, nightlife puts them in control. They can form bonds under the dim lights to the beat of whatever the DJ is playing safely, knowing that most often, they'll only last until morning.

It’s only sex, my dear…
For centuries, sex was the strongest incentive to get married. Even a couple of decades ago, our own parents waited until marriage. Unmarried women were considered the ones with unsettled personal lives. A single man could count on prostitutes, at best. Nowadays, the sexual life of a single man is much more intense than that of a married one. A single girl can have sex that is way above average in intensity and variety. It's these intense sexual experiences that society tells us we lose with marriage, and singles may be afraid to find out if that's really the case.

In search for the ideal.
Another reason why the best are still single is perfectionism. People perfect their careers, their bodies, their possessions. They are puzzled by why in personal relations, they keep missing the target. The reason is simple – in personal relationships perfectionism hurts, for it’s the ability to compromise that counts. The higher the level of perfectionism, the harder it is to compromise. Being a couple is not about achieving and perfecting, it’s about accepting, making the most out of your situation, and thriving accordingly.

The bitter truth of today is that many beautiful, successful people are single. There's no single reason why, but whatever drew everyone into relationships early in life in the past is simply not there. Today, singles operate on their own frequency. They are the members of the elite club, singles of the highest grade.