If you think marriage or a partner will ‘make you happy’, you’re wrong. Sure, it can bring all sorts of good things into our lives, but once the honeymoon’s over, you may find your happiness level is no different to when you were flying solo.
Being single is not a transition point between relationships. But many people, especially women, don’t feel ‘whole’ unless they have someone to share their lives with.
The TV show Sex & The City celebrated single life and showed it in all its glory – of course, all those girls (except, perhaps, feisty, sexually liberated Samantha) were looking for love but they did not feel incomplete without it. The show was honest about single life – highlighted its freedoms along with its difficulties.
The history of singledom’s an interesting one. Where men could be ‘confirmed bachelors’, women were ‘old maids’, or worse, ‘spinsters’ – a word that should be put in the past where it belongs.
Men have always had the edge on singledom – which is not to say men don’t need and crave love and warmth as much as women, it’s just that for men, it’s more acceptable to be single. It’s a hangover from an age where women, if not married by a certain age, were stuck living with their families as they were unable to make a living by themselves.
But it’s different for modern women who have freedoms unimagined by their great grandmothers. An article on webmd.com puts things in perspective. Health writer Jeanie Lerche Davis busts the myths of being single in an interview with Bella M. DePaulo, a social psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of Singled Out.
“One report analyzing 900 couples for 9 years ascertained that wedlock offered only a “small portion” of joy during the short time nearest to the nuptials. “But on average, later on, folks go back to the path they are used to. The research worker’s position is that we all have a baseline of felicity, and marriage generally speaking isn’t going to alter that — apart from that little portion of initial bliss,” DePaulo says. In fact, comparing marriage and single life “happiness analysis studies” are usually seriously blemished”, she adds.
Ask Barbara Feldon, best known and loved for her role as Agent 99 on TV’s classic sit-come, Get Smart. Feldon authored Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life to much acclaim from single women everywhere.
“I didn’t mean it to be a self-help book, but I’m sort of happy it is,” Feldon told The Seattle Times. “I love writing, and I’d been talking to people who live by themselves and feel they’re living a half life until they meet the mate and have a real life. And I felt what a shame because there are two ways to be really happy and one is to have a great mate – and the other is to live by yourself and not have a great mate but to have great friends and interests and creative time.”