When we kids were growing up, our parents repeatedly told us that being happily married was the best state to live in.
The key phrase, of course, was happily married.
Which was obvious, since they lived together 60 years, until Death did them part.
But all of us aren’t that blessed. Some never find Mr. or Miss Perfect; others think they do but things turn sour.
While longevity isn’t a sign of a good marriage, brevity isn’t necessarily a sign of a bad one.
Meaning, things happen.
People change. Or grow apart. Or find they weren’t really ready for that big step.
And then, recognizing their “mistake,” acknowledge it publicly and do whatever it takes to rectify things.
Such as divorce.
And just because they’re alone doesn’t mean they’re lonely.
The other day, I read an article in Mom’s AARP The Magazine by Marion Winik, who was married twice but found herself happily single after 50.
What was going on, she wondered. Wasn’t a single person the “unmatched half of something”? A problem to be solved by well-meaning friends?
Turns out, a Match.com survey of 5,000 American singles indicates 80 percent of those over 50 are quite content without a partner.
Only 8 percent of the 50+ age group is actively seeking a relationship; 51 percent say they’d take the right person if he/she came along; and 24 percent prefer their single state.
Another study (by social scientist Eric Klinenberg, Ph.D.) found similar results:
Older people who are single like it that way. They want integrity and independence.
Some balk at the give-and-take good marriages require. Others have had it “up to here” with dating and kissing frogs. And still others just really prefer keeping open the possibility of friendships with lots of different people, or are grieving a spouse’s death or a difficult breakup.
So I wonder: Is it selfish to want to do what you want every day, without having to take a partner’s needs into consideration?
Maybe you’re “high maintenance” and know it. Maybe you’re driven by a cause, or a business. Maybe you need a lot of alone time — to create, for example.
Maybe you just would rather be single than face the possibility of more hurt.
To your bank account. Or your psyche. Or your heart.
Still, I’ve got to wonder: Would these surveys have uncovered similar results by talking to 30- and 40-year-old singles??