Despite the societal pressure to marry and the message from romantic comedies, many people are discovering the benefits of being single.
At 48 years old, Maria Lott has accepted the fact that her “single” status is a point of contention among friends and, mostly, family, but she’s hit the point where she has stopped caring.
“I date, sure, but I just haven’t found the right guy, and I try not to stress over it as much anymore. Will I ever get married? I would certainly like to, but I’m prepared to not have that option.”
Singlehood is becoming increasingly common among older adults. Though many singles say they are not completely restricting themselves to a life without matrimony, the time it takes to get to possible wedded bliss has become a less bitter pill.
“You’ve got to realize that life definitely is about relationships, but not just romantic ones,” said Marie Lynn Brennan, 48. “That’s what I’ve come to appreciate over the years. I surround myself with a lot of great friends.”
With age comes wisdom, Lott said, and a better handle on what’s desired in a partnership.
“As we get older our tastes are more refined, and I think that makes it harder. At the end of every relationship, I’ve pointed to something and said either ‘OK, that’s what I do want’ or ‘That’s what I don’t want.’ It makes it hard because within the first couple minutes of meeting someone you might pick up on something that you just know you can’t deal with in a relationship, and the whole thing is immediately off.”
There are definite perks to single life, mainly independence.
“There is a certain freedom to it that can be appreciated,” said Faye Koch, 32. “I’m not accountable for anyone else and can do what I want.”
Koch often takes advantage of this notion and travels, something she has been fond of since she was younger.
“I’ve always had a need to get out and see the world, and now I have the opportunity to. I might be able to find a guy who’s willing to go along with it, but who says that’s what I need? I do it for myself.”
Koch has traveled all over the United States and most recently visited France. She hopes to get back out of the country and in the vicinity of Italy within the year.
Some might view such trips as lonely. Not Koch.
“I might bring someone, I might not. Either way I share the trip with people I care about anyway. If I come home from somewhere I went by myself, I’ve got plenty of pictures and stories to tell my family and friends.”
While many make the most of where they’re at in life while still holding out hope that they find “the one,” others — men included — have made a solid decision that living a life with no married partner is just fine.
Fifty-three year old Tom Blevins has other things on his mind. With two sisters who have husbands and three children between them, he’s never wanting for company.
“My family keeps me busy; my job keeps me busy,” Blevins said. “I date, but it’s not really my focus. At this point, I don’t think marriage is in the cards for me. I’m pretty content.”