When “Why Aren’t You Married” Becomes “Why Aren’t You Single”

UnknownBy now, we all know about the rise in single people and that, for the first time in U.S. history, there are more single people than there are married people.   Interestingly, this increase in single people is not just a U.S. phenomenon: single households have increased 30% worldwide.


It looks like everybody is catching on to something that many of us have known for some time: being single can be good.  I don’t really know what this demographic change means, but it could become really interesting if this change continues.  Right now, it’s pretty close in the U.S.: 49% married, 51% not married.  But I wonder what would happen if this change continued and being single became the norm the way being married is now.


Life in a society where most people are single would require a few changes in the way we do things.  Here’s a few I thought of…some lighthearted, some more important:


That Annoying Question.  Every single woman older than 29 has a story about the annoying questions she gets from family, friends, and virtual strangers about her unmarried status. That would change. Instead, people would sidle up to wives, give them a look of concern, and ask in a pitying tone: “Why aren’t you single?”


Roommates At Any Age.  I’m reading a book called My House, Our House by Louise 1958624555_e9cccd3caf_sMachinist, Jean McQuillin, and Karen Bush, three single women who bought a house together and have been successfully living together as grown-up roommates for seven years, and counting.  They call it “cooperative housing” and it may be the next new wave of living styles, as more people remain unmarried but don’t necessarily want to live alone.  The book even has a quiz in the back to help you decide if cooperative living is for you.  It’s an interesting concept that I bet we’ll see more of.


Small Box Stores.  Right now, Big Box stores are all the rage.  Go to Costco or a Wal-Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 8.54.19 PMMart SuperCenter and you can buy a 100-roll pack of toilet paper and other ginormous-sized packages of just about anything.  The reverse will be true when Singles become the norm.  Stores that carry food and other products in small sizes will sprout up everywhere to cater to their single customers.  Remember Campbell’s Soup for One? It was ahead of its time.  They should bring it back…minus all the sodium.


Who’s Your Family?  Companies that offer employees time off for, say, a death in the family, will have to expand the definition of family to include really close friends.


Single red rose against soft backgroundA Fun New Holiday. National Singles Week –-typically “celebrated” the 3rd week in September—will go from an obscure observance that only a few people know about –to- a rival to Mother’s Day for attention…hopefully with better gifts.


Come As You Are.  Dinner party hostesses will stop acting like having an uneven number of guests at the table is a problem.  (It never should have been.  Just add or subtract a chair, for Pete’s sake).  Weddings won’t have an awkward Singles table stuck over in the corner; that’s where the Marrieds will be.


Travel For One.  Cruises will figure out a way to appeal to single travelers and do away 5361276466_e3fc989ddd_swith the extremely pricey “supplement” they currently charge.


A Fairer Government.  At present, there are over 1000 laws that provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples.  Some of the worst offenders involve income taxes, Social Security, and the rules around IRAs. That sh** needs to stop!


Live Where You Want To.  It is illegal to deny housing to people with kids, but it is not illegal to deny housing to a Single person.  I really don’t get this one.


For The Greater Good.  Singles have been shown to volunteer more, and have more involved relationships with their parents, extended family, and neighbors. More of this can only be a good thing.


Better Marriages.  I imagine that one of the reasons there are more single people is that we no longer feel obligated to get married…even when it doesn’t feel quite right.  With the pressure off, maybe people will only get married when it’s really right, making for stronger and healthier unions and families.  Wouldn’t that be nice?


I’m sure it’ll be a long, long time before the growth in the number of Singles is in such sharp contrast to the number of Marrieds, but it was fun fantasizing about what it could mean.  Did I miss anything?


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18 Responses to When “Why Aren’t You Married” Becomes “Why Aren’t You Single”

  1. How scrumptious that women are finally getting some choice in how to live their lives and look at how annoyed it makes some people. The world is getting rather crowded and trying to cajole people to have children who don’t want to seems silly. It is that ridiculous “all or nothing” thinking. Like if people who don’t want to get married or have children don’t, then suddenly no one will!!

  2. P-e-t-e-r says:

    1Mo 1:28 “And God gave them his blessing and said to them, Be fertile and have increase, and make the earth full and be masters of it; be rulers over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing moving on the earth.”

    You have extremely selfish thinking. If you had a husband(/wife) and 2 children it would take $222360 per child to grow them up. So you saved $222360 and a lot of time.
    ( http://visualeconomics.creditloan.com/how-much-does-it-really-cost-to-raise-a-kid/ )
    Think about it!

    • Nissa says:

      Are you really going with the argument, “because God said so”? If you are going to be biblical, how about Matthew 7:3 to 7:6, beginning with ”
      “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Or 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing”. Or 1 John 4:16 ” We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”. Not to mention several verses in Corinthians and the New Testament.
      Have we forgotten that Christ’s disciples left their lives (and presumably wives and children) to become “fishers of men”, and to
      minister to strangers? Children are only one of many, many ways to honor life and God.

    • Victoria says:

      Glad he brought that up. Yes, the fundamentals.
      I always thought patriarchy is, if not THE problem, then a real factor.
      First, the unrealistic pressure on men, to be in the image of a vast creator, leading to such proverbs as ‘In the end, the competition is only with yourself’.
      Then we all know women like to talk things over. Men, also, but after filling the world and history with their solo flights, must then write books about it.
      But the effect on women…that there’s a ‘man upstairs’, a chairman and CEO of morality, ethics, lifestyle, personhood.
      Query them on the crass assumption that women are divinely subordinate, sort of handmaiden-lady-secretaries-in-waiting, and you hear “But God is universal, sexless,’ and in the very next sentence, reference to “him” as “he”. Where semantics justify action my experience with sexism tells me what follows, to: A. Patronize; B. Isolate; C. Slander (privately) / Attack (frontally, once the necessary conditions are established); D. Harm. Maybe in that order. Not to mention the testosterone-aggression thing….
      Women and men ARE different but the latter still has all the money, power, title, inheritance; matters of a still deeply, quite destructively, sexist-and- patriarchal world.

  3. Robert says:

    OMG. Who chooses to be single deliberately is the most selfish person ever. It is not a worldwide problem till only a minority enjoy the wealth and the freedom without any responsibility. The sample what singles follows the easy way. Without responsible families and there committed altruist behavior (grow up children), those irresponsible hedonists could not follow their strange ideas. I hope the single model never become the ideal or desired one.

    • Nissa says:

      Your argument has several fallacies. One, a deliberately single person is selfish. Like say, Christ? Mother Theresa? George Washington Carver? Red Cross founder Clara Barton? Nikola Tesla? Joan of Arc? Sir Isaac Newton? Helen Keller?Sure, those people were known for their selfishness.
      Second fallacy: single people cause minorities to have the wealth. What? Many single people leave significant bequests to family, charities and the arts (ie selfless acts, if you haven’t noticed).

      Third fallacy: single people have freedom without responsibility.
      A huge number of single people take on the responsibility for family members, neighbors, etc out of kindess and charity. Singles are far more likely to volunteer in everything from neighborhood help to organizations like serve.gov, where their childless status enables them to do things those with children can’t or won’t do.
      Fourth fallacy: singles have it easy. You try getting through a life threatening disease like cancer, MS or lupus by yourself without even someone to notice when you’ve fallen.
      Fifth fallcy:families make you altruistic / singles are irresponsible hedonists. If families made people altruistic, everyone except orphans would then be altruistic. Singles are no more or less hedonistic than any other person. Just as many singles are hardworking, responsible, tax paying, right minded citizens as the married and childbearing.

      I pray that the model, the ideal will be that each is the best possible human being without regard to (among other things) marital or parental status.

      • Eleanore says:

        Thanks, Nissa. I didn’t have the patience to take on that argument

        • Tara says:

          You have noticed it’s men that are giving the derogatory comments. Some men really don’t like that women enjoy being single and basically without them. I am not selfish, I don’t want to take care of anyone but myself. I don’t want kids and right now no man has ever made me want to get married. So I my Aunt who has been a nun for over 50 years is selfish. She actually didn’t want to get married and became nun because she wanted to be a missionary and that was all that was available to her in the 50s. Oh she is selfish. Get over yourselves.

  4. Pingback: Giant Comfort » 11 Ways the World Will Be Better When Single is the Norm

  5. Melissa says:

    Something to consider:
    I have worked with multi-national companies for the last 15 years, in the US and as an ex-pat (South America, Asia). The amount of money the company has “saved” b/c I am not married with kids is literally hundreds of thousands of USD (housing allowances, healthcare, private schools for the kids, etc.)!!! I think these companies should finally recognize the insanity of their system and give singles a bonus check equivalent to 50% of the savings!!!!

  6. Carolyn B says:

    Re: the percentages, which side of the coin do co-habiters fall on? Single because there’s no legal document or Married because they reside at the same address and/or share custody of child(ren)?

    Re: the roommates’ book,My House, Our House — I’d love to get my hands on that. I think it would be interesting to read about a housing situation from a room-mate only perspective.

  7. Stella says:

    Oh oops, should’ve kept reading. I should be thanking Goddiva. Sorry to clutter things up.

  8. Molly S says:

    I believe you may have some of your information about Social Security incorrect.
    When a married couple retire, both collect their own SS checks. When the husband dies, the surviving wife does not still get his check in addition to hers. What she does get is a choice of which person’s SS check she’d like to receive. So if her husband got a larger SS check, she can choose his amount instead of her own. Since men, especially in our parents generation, made a lot more than women, most women will opt for that. So often she ends up with a larger check, but it’s still a lot less than when the two of them were together alive.

    If the woman dies first and her SS check is larger than her husband’s, then I assume he would have the same choice, but I’ve only dealt with my mom on this issue when my dad died, so I can’t say for sure.

  9. Renitta says:

    “Many of us are single because we simply have a low Bulls!#t tolerance”

    Standing Ovation! Thank you Goddiva!!!!! This right here describes me to a T!

  10. Sharon says:

    hi. I enjoy reading your blog from time to time. You have some very good articles about the single life. I am a single woman, 50 yrs old, never married. I was once one of those single women who wanted to be married badly, especially when I was in my thirties. I am now content with my status as a single woman. Of course I still would be open to getting married if it is God’s will.
    Anyway, I felt that this article was very interesting.
    There are still a lot of unfair advantages given to marrieds that single people do not get. As far as Social Security is concerned, I think that it is OK for a married or formerly married woman who has never worked to get some benefits from her husband, especially after he passes away. My mom is in this situation. She is in her late 70’s and she never worked a regular job. She has always been a wife and mother. She gets social security benefits because she was married to my dad for almost 17 years. My mother would not be able to get a job and support herself in this economy. She has no computer or office skills at all. She would need some type of support from SS. As for married women who worked all of their life and made a nice income during their working lives, I don’t think that they should get an extra check from SS just for being married unless they fall on hard times. What I mean by an extra check, I mean that they should not get their regular SS retirement check, plus their husbands SS check once he passes away, unless they can prove financial hardship. I also think the single supplements on cruises and tours is very unfair. I don’t get to travel too much due to lack of funds.The best thing for single travelers to do is to book a nice cottage or bed and breakfast, and book the airfare separately. This is one way to avoid the single supplement.

  11. Goddiva says:

    Ahh, the idea of more single serving portions at the grocery store *hear that…..that’s the sound of the angels singing!* The flipside to this is that more women are having out of wedlock children so becoming a baby mama is the NEW marriage. Many are no longer interested in the “traditional” order yet the complaint of how hard single parenting is or how being a single parent should mean receiving entitlements or getting a pass on accountability is endless.
    Then you have the men out there on the prowl who are dating or asking women out but have a “situation”. Situation being a wife, live in girlfriend or residing with mom. I
    mean seriously?! Many of us are single because we simply have a low Bulls!#t tolerance.

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