But more people—especially straight women—are realizing that partnerships aren’t always happy or healthy, and that dating culture can be emotionally stressful, worrisome, and at times humiliating. A 2019 analysis of US Census data shows that about 40% of adults aged 25-54 were single (neither married nor living with a partner). That’s up from 29% in 1990.
For some, it’s a choice. For others, celibacy is something they fall into through the death of a partner or a breakup. Divorce is more acceptable now than it was in decades past, and women in particular have more educational and career opportunities that allow them to thrive on their own. More people are choosing a child-free life, and even if they want children, they may have the financial means and social support to do so without a partner. While there are fewer research studies that have focused on how gay people feel about celibacy and the similar or different challenges they face, emerging evidence suggests that celibacy among the LGBTQ community can be both rewarding and complex.
No matter the circumstances, it’s possible to be alone and happy, according to the experts we spoke to.
“There is a misconception that singles are bad at relationships or need relationship advice,” Silver said. “We don’t need relationship advice, because we are not in relationships. We need celibacy advice.”
Now more than ever, however, those who go into life alone are overcoming the social and financial obstacles that stand in their way; They’re swiping left in dating culture, ditching traditional partnerships, and rejecting the perennial stigma of a partner-free life.
“Saturday night Mine watching the sofa Mine Netflix with Mine cat and Mine A glass of wine, I imagined silver. “Like, don’t threaten me to have a good time.”
People are fine without partners.
Being single is, for some people, truly the way they live their best and most authentic life. Bella DiPaulo, an expert on celibacy who works in the Department of Psychology and Brain at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls these people “celibate at heart.”
“Every single person at heart experiences a love of solitude. They love that time they have to themselves,” said DiPaulo, who wrote the book. The end of celibacy. “They don’t worry about being lonely. They don’t feel lonely. And that’s something that both men and women have in common.” Because of this, she added, bachelors live a “psychologically rich life”. They are able to pursue a variety of fun and new experiences that enhance their lives and promote overall happiness and contentment.
“From the smallest things to the biggest, like deciding whether to pick up your life and move around the country, a single life is a life full of possibilities,” DiPaulo said. “They’re not trying to mix their dreams and wishes with what a romantic partner wants.”
In contrast, single people may have more time to prioritize their mental and physical health than partnered people.
Joules Lo’Well, 39, experienced these benefits firsthand. After leaving an abusive marriage, the Texas resident said she spent a long time dating trying to fill the void she thought she was in. “I was always nervous. I was always anxious. Then I noticed that when I wasn’t dating, I felt more at peace,” Lowell said. “I felt healthier. My skin was clearer. I had no worries or stress.”
After Lo’Well posted a video on TikTok sharing her reason for perfectly containing staying single forever, which has been viewed more than 2.2 million times, I learned that a lot of people feel the same way.
“We’re told that marriage is the pinnacle of a woman’s success. It’s what you’re supposed to fight for in life. That if you don’t have a man, you’re lonely. But that’s not true,” said Lowell. “Women have girlfriends. We have children. We have family members. We have our pets. We are taking art lessons.”
Data from 2019 shows that while half of single adults say they are not looking for a relationship or dating, single men (61%) are more likely to seek a partnership than single women (38%).
There is little research exploring what gay people think of celibacy. But a 2016 survey found that 63% of US singles who identify as gay or lesbian have always wanted to get married, while 25% said they agreed with never tying the knot.
In general, research shows that single people have a much stronger supportive network than those with partners because they are better able to stay in touch with family, friends and co-workers, for example.
Elyakim Kislev, Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Governance at The Hebrew University and author of happy single And the Relations 5.0, in an email. “We tend to think that the era of ‘bowling alone’ is due to the singles,” Kislev said, but that married people are actually more likely to turn inward and forget their social surroundings.
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