It may be somewhat shocking to hear a psychologist proclaim that human beings are better off being single than married—but it probably isn’t as shocking to realize that the notion on its own could definitely be true. Professor Bella DePaulo argues that staying single provides individuals with the opportunity to “live their best, most authentic and most meaningful life.” DePaulo challenged several traditional, common ideologies at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Denver, Colorado.
More specifically, she announced that, “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 a heightened sense of self-determination and they are more likely to experience ‘a sense of continued growth and development’ as a person. Other research shows that single people value meaningful work more than married people do . . . another study of lifelong single people showed that self-sufficiency serves them well: the more self-sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative emotions. For married people, just the opposite was true.” Again, it’s always a little shocking when insights such as these are revealed, but when you really think about them, they aren’t at all difficult to believe.
As per the Office for National Statistics, last year there were approximately 16.2 million single people in the United Kingdom, while there were 23.7 million married people. Back in 2002, the number of single individuals was 12.5 million, whereas the number of married individuals was 23 million. DePaulo points out that although many reasons for staying single exist, they are “rarely acknowledged. Single people are more connected to parents, siblings, friends, neighbours, and coworkers than married people are, and when people marry, they become more insular. The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude. 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.”
Fascinatingly, DePaulo goes on to note that even though friends, family members, and peers all normally celebrate other people’s marriages initially, many of these people end up acting far more negative to these married individuals after time passes on. In closing, DePaulo urges everyone to realize that there is no genuine evidence which suggests getting married makes human beings happier in the long-term, and she also urges everyone to remain aware that getting married easily has the potential to make human beings significantly less happy.