Bella DePaulo Tells You Why You Want to Be Singled Out
By Josie Brown
Bella DePaulo doesn’t mind being singled out—as someone who’s happy not being part of a couple. She knows the advantages of being single.
“Sometimes those of us who are not in a relationship, or have never been in one, get that look: you know the one. As if something is wrong with us. It’s assumed that we can’t be happy. Or maybe we’re not mature enough to be in one.” DePaulo laughs. “As someone who has been single all of her adult life, that struck me as a perverted view of single people.”
In her new book, appropriately entitled Singled Out, De Paulo is quite clear as to why being female and single is the new black, not just as it pertains to a lifestyle, but a life choice as well.
And the timing is right for a makeover.
“Over the past quarter-century, women’s place in society has changed greatly,” explains DePaulo. “Because we now have more opportunities for supporting ourselves, we don’t have to be married to be financially secure. All the big pieces of an adult life that used to be tied to married have become undone. For example, single women are not waiting to buy a home, or to travel or to have children, for that matter.”
With financial security comes emotional freedom as well. “When you feel secure, you also feel more comfortable with yourself, both emotionally and sexually. The taboos of the past—like, say, chastity until marriage—now become a personal choice, as opposed to a societal one.”
But what about the statistics that say single people are the unhappiest among us?
DePaulo can point to just as many surveys that show the opposite. “For example, one recent Pew Survey shows that 55 percent of single respondents currently not in a relationship aren’t looking for one, either. While another 26 percent of single respondents are in a relationship, only 16 percent of those single were actively seeking a partner.”
It’s the media that has given singledom a bad rap, says DePaulo. “The stereotypes are all over television: those reality shows, in which desperate women throw themselves at a bachelor, week after week. The ‘happily ever after’ endings that must happen in movies, to make us feel better for the heroine. What the media doesn’t show us is that you can be single, and be happy, too.”
In fact, says DePaulo, pushing society toward what she calls “matrimania” is why the divorce rates are so high in the first place. “We are trained to focus on the event, the wedding, as opposed to the person we’re marrying. It’s a big business, and that’s the tip-off .”
The key to a complete and fulfilled life is friendships, says DePaulo, whether you’re single or committed. “You may love them, but even spending time with your kids may not make you as happy; whereas with friends, you have common interests, and shared experiences.”
In truth, it’s when you’re single that you are free to pursue the passions most important to you, she explains. “Think how much you could accomplish if you didn’t have to consider someone else’s opinion or goals. As a single, you’re free to lead the life that is truly yours, to do what you think is important and meaningful.”
Okay, Singles: Here are the stereotypes:
Myth #1: Marrieds know best.
A New Spin: Singles have more fun.
Myth #2: You are interested in just one thing – getting coupled.
A New Spin: I’m interested in everything—and I get to explore it in my own way, on my own time.
Myth #3: You are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic.
A New Spin: I love my life, my friends, my family, and my career.