Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Singles, What Are You Already Doing Successfully?

Which living-single challenges have you already mastered?

In my last post, I asked, “What would make your life better as a single person?” I am so delighted with the discussion that question has generated. I hope people will continue to post their ideas, into the foreseeable future. I know that I, for one, will continue to devour every comment.

The discussion got me thinking about a related question: Single people, what are you already doing well? What solutions have you already found to any challenges of single life? You probably all have success stories, so if you are willing, please share them here.

Again, I hope your imagination has no limits in thinking about this question. Consider the entire array of ways that you are succeeding in your single life, from the biggest and broadest to the smallest practical matters.

An example of a big-picture victory is something Alan said in response to the last post. Answering the question of what would make single life better, he suggested:

“Seeing being single as a creative challenge rather than a problem to be avoided.

Too often it seems that people look at being single as a problem..."what if you're lonely?" "who will take care of you?"...rather than seeing it as a creative challenge..."What sort of different connections can you create?"

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It is entirely possible to look at being single as a chance to be creative and to create something new in terms of lifestyle and social life. Not to deny the potential risk...doing anything new or different is risky and can go wrong. But to acknowledge that you're taking the risk to create something different.”

Just by thinking in that way, instead of the old, boring, stereotypical way, is itself a victory.

As single people, sometimes our values are not the ones celebrated by the rest of society. Many of us care about and prioritize people other than romantic partners. Our friends, family members (and not just nuclear family members), mentors, and all sorts of other people may be important to us. What are we doing to implement our own values? A small example from my own life: Whenever I host a social event, I make it clear to the people I invite that they are welcome to bring others, and that by others, I do not mean just spouses or romantic partners.

I know from the preliminary research I have done on people who are single-at-heart that many single people who love their single lives also love their solitude. Maybe that’s not too hard to come by if you live on your own (as I do), but how do you get the privacy and alone time that you crave if you live with other people?

And the flip side of that: How have you succeeded in getting the amount of time with other people that is the right amount for you? How have you managed to create connections that are not just enjoyable but also deep? (This guest post by Lisa Cook is a great example of someone who faced challenges along these lines but worked persistently to deal with them and then share what she learned.)

Are there other kinds of things, big or small, that you initially found difficult about being single but since have learned to deal with successfully?

As most of you know, I’m into consciousness-raising. I like to support other enlightened singles bloggers, and advocacy groups that care about single people (such as Unmarried Equality) by getting the word out about their work. Here’s a list of singles links and resources I maintain at my website. When we make it clear that the 100-million-plus single people (just counting those in the US) are not going to stay quiet anymore, that we are not going to let matrimania and singlism go unchallenged, we are chalking up victories.

Don’t forget to list the little things you do well, to make your single life as hassle-free as possible. For example, as a person who lives alone, I know that when I run out of something I like to have around, I can’t assume that there will be someone else under the same roof I can persuade to head out and replace it. So I keep back-up’s of all of my favorite things.

Now go ahead and share your own success stories, and as with the previous post, please return again and again as you think of new things to add.

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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