Successful women, it seems, are finally getting their due in the world of cinema. One documentary after another is celebrating their lives. They include, for example, “RBG” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), “Being Serena” (Serena Williams), “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” and “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.”
I love living single. I never whine about not having a romantic partner. So why do so many people find my life choices to be unsettling? I’m not just talking about me. Other single people have the same experiences and research supports their impressions about how people react to them.
Why People in Romantic Relationships Should Ask What They Would Do If They Were Single: Guest Post by Kate Newburgh
“The trick, I’ve found, is not to fear losing my partner, but to fear losing myself.” --Kate Newburgh, PhD
Those of us who are single are stuck putting up with the stereotyping and stigmatizing that I call singlism. Tell someone you are single and from knowing just that one thing about you, many people will immediately assume that you are miserable, lonely, self-centered, and immature. They would be wrong about that, as research shows. Stereotyping is hardly the worst component of singlism. People who are single are also disadvantaged in important systematic ways – for example, in their access to health insurance.
In my role as someone who studies single life and practices it, too, I get asked all sorts of fascinating questions. Some of them are professional (for example, about what research has shown), others are personal. Recently, I was interviewed for the November/December 2018 issue of the magazine, Psychotherapy Networker. That gave me the idea to share with you (with their permission) longer versions of the answers I gave the therapists.
In 1972, women who became mothers were, on the average, only 21 years old when they had their first child. Now they are 26.
[Bella’s intro: For years, Kevin Markey has been doing his part to raise awareness about singlism and try to create change. He does some of the things you might expect, such as writing to people in power, and a few that you might not. My favorite among the latter is his t-shirt campaign. He creates t-shirts with consciousness-raising messages about single people and wears them. Whenever anyone sees Kevin in one of his t-shirts, they see an affirming message about single people. Kevin is also an administrator for the Community of Single People (CoSP), for which I am very grateful. When Kevin posted about one of his latest efforts, people in CoSP started suggesting that he write about his experiences. That was a great idea and I’m happy that Kevin agreed to do so. I’m also happy I got to meet Kevin in September when I was in London to give a few talks about singlism and single life.]
Spending holidays by yourself can be quite wonderful. Yes, even the ones that are supposed to be all about togetherness, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Previously, I shared that list of “129 ways to get a husband” that has gone viral on social media. To me, it amounted to 129 reminders of how happy I am that I am single-at-heart and have no interest in finding a husband, a wife, or any romantic partner.
As long-time readers of this blog know, dating and any other kinds of attempts to become unsingle are the only topics off-limits here. I’m all about living single life, not escaping it. I’m making an exception this time, though. In part, it is because what I have to share is so hilarious (and horrifying), I wanted you to see it. I think it is also revelatory, in ways I will discuss in a future post. (Here it is.)