Single? Don’t Sweat It, You May Actually Feel More Fulfilled Than Your Married Counterparts

Single people may have a lot more going for them than society would generally suggest. Single people are generally not the sad and lonely people that dating websites would have people believe, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention. In general, single people are more fulfilled and experience more psychological growth than their paired-off counterparts. Single people also seem to have a heightened sense of self-determination, the latest research paper on the subject entitled, “What no one ever told you about being single” indicates.

“The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude,” Dr. Bella DePaulo, a scientist at the University of California-Santa Barbara, stated about her presentation. “It is time for a more accurate portrayal of single people and single life – one that recognizes the real strengths and resilience of people who are single, and what makes their lives so meaningful.”

Singledom is a growing lifestyle, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that in the last 40 years, the percentage of single people has grown from only 37.4 percent to just over half of all of all Americans over the age of 16.

“Increasing numbers of people are single because they want to be,” DePaulo said. “Living single allows them to live their best, most authentic, and most meaningful life.”

DePaulo believes that some other studies claiming that marriage makes people healthier and happier can’t be methodologically supported. She says that her research indicates that when people become married, they tend to be less concerned with things that happen outside of their own homes.

“When people marry, they become more insular.”

She says that other studies only used single people as a comparison group and not as the group directly examined. Additionally, DePaulo says that single people are actually less likely to experience negative emotions when they are independent. Independence in marriage, on the other hand, leads to more negative emotions.

Given all of the institutional benefits of marriage, being married should make people much better off than single people, but that’s not what her data is showing her.

“People who marry get access to more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections, many of them financial. Considering all of the financial and cultural advantages people get just because they are married, it becomes even more striking that single people are doing as well as they are.”

It should be noted that the research isn’t saying that being single is better than being married, but it does offer a perspective of single life that society rarely depicts. She says it indicates that there is no one path to happiness, according to Medical News Today.

“We can create our own life spaces. What matters is not what everyone else is doing or what other people think we should be doing, but whether we can find the places, the spaces, and the people that fit who we really are and allow us to live our best lives.”

The new information she presented counters the media, scholarly writings, and popular culture depictions of what single life is actually like.

“I will argue that the story that has been told is more ideology than science,” DePaulo said when discussing her findings for the American Psychological Association. “It is time for a more accurate portrayal of single people and single life – one that recognizes the real strengths and resilience of people who are single, and what makes single life so meaningful.”

[Image via Pixabay]