Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Will Mate-trimony Make It Fashionable to Be Single?

Mate-trimony, frennymoons, frenniversaries, life insurance for friends – can these kinds of ideas add up to a better place in society for singles and their friends? Read More


This column, like virtually everything Ms DePaulo seems much less science or even analysis than advocacy and marketing.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are evolved or adapted for transient and superficial relationships only. Mating, at least serial monogamy is the experience of more than 95% of the humans that have ever lived. The evolutionary imperative for having, loving, and maintaining relationships with one's children is beyond debate.

Rationalizing the poor life choices of hedonists, the self centered and the socially inept is not only ridiculous, but contrary to their best interests.

How many "lifetime" friends are gone and all but forgotten ? I remember pledging to be "friends forever" with people in high school, college, and my 20s - of course we all grew up, moved on and are in occasional contact on facebook if at all. Friendships are relationships of situation and convenience not actual connection, when things change friendships melt away. Adults who pretend these are relationships to build a life on are destined to long term disappointment before dying alone.

I know you're just a troll but

I still have a friend from 5th grade and I'm past 50. I've been to both of her weddings. Been to her father's funeral. Held her hand through her first divorce. She means everything to me and so does her family.

Her 1st husband, the one she was supposed to "build a life with" met someone else and took off. We've only heard about him through mutual friends. Haven't seen him in years.

I know you're closed minded and think everyone should think and behave the way you do. Sorry. I honestly think that if I were the last person on earth single and everyone made fun of me constantly, I'd still prefer to be single. It'd be tough. I'd have to be really strong. Thank god that's not the world we live in, but it sure is close. 95% of humans, as you say, think serial monogamy is the bomb. So, let me say this to you....leave us 5% alone to live our lives the way we want. That's all we ask. There aren't many of us around. You don't have to constantly attack us. Just let us be. We're only pushing back because of people like yourself. We'd stop if you'd stop.


I can reassure you : I am deeply, profoundly uninterested in what you do and how you live your life. Like heroin addicts, those who chose to build their lives on transient relationships mainly hurt themselves and certainly harm me not at all so bon chance.

My point was advocating for a life style that is ultimately harmful and causes isolation, depression, correlates with suicide, and ultimately leads to dying alone and unmourned is unethical.

Intentionally alone people, like heroin addicts, may eke out an existence, perhaps even convincing themselves and others that pals are better than a mate or children. Just please don't tell others "being alone is great" or " heroin addicting is super dandy"

@ Kawenu: If you were

@ Kawenu: If you were "deeply, profoundly uninterested" in what we do and how we live our lives, then why did you feel the need to comment on the article?

It sounds that you may be unhappy with your life which is why you are choosing to attack other people for their choices.

He is obviously profoundly unhappy, but...

but that doesn't matter. He's sacrificing his life and happiness for the greater good and that is marriage and children. Who cares if he's happy as long as he's doing the RIGHT THING. That's all that's important you stupid selfish lowlife heathens!

IMHO, this is why religion has hooked itself to marriage. If you want butts in pews and social control, how better to do this than through FAMILY. That sacrosanct institution we're all supposed to want membership in. So, if it isn't to your liking, well GOD will reward you for your sacrifice. You and your spouse, if you make it to the end, will enjoy a one way free ticket to paradise! Who could resist? Everything will be beautiful and wonderful and you'll love it! 24/7! except that concept won't exist, right? Just hang in there and you'll get the ultimate reward. Sacrifice!! Do your duty!!! All we be rewarded in the end.

So Kawenu is just doing his duty. He's following his god's directive and he's telling us how BAD we are. How could we even want to live our sad, sick, depraved lives! It just disgusts him! But, he's gotta do it....big daddy in the sky won't be happy if he doesn't.

Please test your house for

Please test your house for lead paint.

My comment wasn't religious and I am not religious. I said NOTHING about right and wrong or religion in any way. I pity people like you, so consumed with hate that you push all disagreement into the class of people you hate.

I talk about the ethics of advocating a lifestyle that causes depression, suicide and empty lives. Just as I think that you should be able to be a heroin addict so long as you harm no one, you can certainly lead an empty life of transient relationships if you wish. Advocacy for singleness, like advocacy for herion addiction has a much more difficult ethical consideration.

We get it, you hate religion, what does it have to do with advocacy for wasting lives ?

Using your own values to judge others

You, too, are equally closed the idea that a single-by-choice person's life could be anything but wasted. No one I love would characterize my life in that way. In fact, my overcoming a disabling accident has helped many others to live fuller lives with disabilities. That is only one of the many fulfilling things about my life. Just because I don't choose to limit myself to one other person with whom I share a home and bed doesn't mean my life is any more or less meaningful than yours. (And no, I don't have multiple partners either.) If sexual activity with one other person (and possibly having children with that person) is all that gives your life meaning, that's just sad. There are many ways to have love, and/or children, in your life, and helping children who are already here can be much more fulfilling than making your own. Peace out.

You've been way out of line with your generalizations

...referring to us as "self centered" and "socially inept." The fact is: I myself as the one single of three siblings, did the lion's share in caregiving for my father with Alzheimer's. It doesn't make my coupled siblings bad people, but I was better-positioned to take care of him. My anecdotal example is confirmed by broad-based studies as well (covered on this blog).

Also, my dad, referring to an always-single relative, told me "Jane was always so full of life that people wanted to be around her, even in her final years when she was confined to a wheelchair." I recognized that quality in her as well as other happily single folks.

And yes, it's another anecdote, but it counts for more than you coming on here and making these broad-brush condemnations of those who choose to be single. And there's a borderline-obsession with "dying alone" that's ghoulish. We should all find that spark of life - whether single or coupled - living day-to-day.

@Kawenu, your post seems

@Kawenu, your post seems illogical. One half of EVERY couple dies alone unless they both get hit by a bus (or the like) simultaneously. And no one with friends dies unmourned - it actually doesn't take having sex with someone to have them grieve when you die (though leaving as many grieving people as possible after I die isn't one of my major life goals). The misconception that choosing to live single equals being alone, i.e. friendless, without being important in others' lives and without others being important in your life, is the downfall of your whole argument. Studies, long-term and international, indicate that singles are MORE likely to be involved in community activities, to have tighter relationships with parents and siblings, to be MORE likely to call on and care for neighbors, etc. than those who are married. Therefore, your thesis about those who choose to be single and your analogy to someone who is self-destructive just don't logically hold water.

The Social Family

The Dutch knowledge centre CISA has for many years worked to improve the situation of singles in Society. They seem to advocate that the concept ‘family’ should be extended with the concept of the ‘social family’, which means extending to friends the same legal rights and protections that families and couples have, if I have understood correctly. In 2013 they published a book, "De Sociale Familie: De Maatschappelijke Emancipatie van Alleenstaanden". Unfortunately I don’t read Dutch. But I wonder if what they are doing is something similar to what is described here.

I recently had a conversation

with a fellow female that went something like this:
Her: You're just pretending to be happy being single. You're saving face. You can't possibly be happy. It is so sad that you're pretending to be happy.
Me: You're right. (this was met by an open mouthed stare) I'm going to use my aunt as an example. She pretending for years that she was happy. That everything was wonderful. I'd see her at holiday parties, on summer vacations, at weddings and funerals....never did she seem unhappy. She was always smiling and was always so warm and friendly.
Her: Well, there you go. She wasn't really happy though, was she.
Me: No she wasn't. I was fooled completely.
Her: So, did she finally find a husband and really become happy?
Me: No, she finally did become honest though. She finally told me that she'd really be very unhappy for the last 20 or so years.
Her: Wow. That was really brave of her to admit.
Me: Yes it was. But no, to answer your question. She didn't finally find a husband.
Her: What finally made her happy then?
Me: Her divorce.


I cannot imagine married people coming to a Mate-trimony party. They call that a birthday party and think you are crazy to try to get them to accept you and your rights.

My niece got engaged recently. I was told I am being invited with a Plus one, but a lot of other single people are not because they are not involved in relationships. I did not react well to the latter. Not that it matters. "Why should I spend $150 on someone I don't know." That presumes you know the spouse or romantic partner of every guest, I pointed out.

They stumped me with this one point: apparently people will just go out and find someone to bring as their date to a wedding. That thought never occurred to me. I hate weddings. I wouldn't take a hostage. Now I have two people's bad day to be responsible for.

So why am I invited to bring a Plus One? They insist it is not because they know I won't bring one. They said, in case you want to bring a friend. My social anxiety and crowd-phobia is well known.

But what about every other single person? Why can't they bring a friend? Because it never occured to anyone that there should be an alternative to a romantic partner as a date.

Glad I'm the aunt. But I still won't bring a Plus 1

Making us proud

I'm taken with the beginning of the post - loosely paraphrased as the need to respect singles and their lives. And some of the comments which bear out that we are not considered "equal" socially... Lots of singles I know seem to dismiss this - but I know it exists and am happy to hear people discuss it. I'm committed to showing singles as living authentic full and engaged lives by publishing an online magazine with features about singles doing interesting and great things in the world plus ideas for everyone on living holistic lives. Please click on the website address above - Flying High Solo.

On Plus Ones

My attitude is if I need a plus-one in order to enjoy an event, I'm not good enough friends with the others there to justify going. Either I'm going to go and make an effort to get to know them better, or I'm going to sit it out and be grateful to have dodged a bullet.
I had a best friend at one time, when I was actually married, but my husband was socially high-maintenance and I preferred to take my friend places. My other friends accepted her as my de facto sister, and it was a happy time. Unfortunately, the spiritual path that brought us together diverged and she ended the friendship because after years of intense spiritual study, I was the one who was "closed" because I wouldn't shove my God back in a box. She had a difficult career where she saw horrific child abuse on a regular basis, and she needed the structure of a strict organized religion to make sense of it all. I was okay with her being who she was, even observing the spiritual rules of her church community when we were together, but I was suddenly intolerable to her. I miss her a lot. Now that I am single, it would be nice to have someone like her again, but I do all right without that. When you pass 40, you suddenly start evaluating how you spend your time and not saying yes to so many things that feel like work.

I agree. If they don't want

I agree. If they don't want me there without a hanger-on, I ain't going. And I'll save the money I was going to spend on a wedding present for these so-called "friends" and buy myself a six-pack instead.

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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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