Webster’s Dictionary link defines a cult as a large group of people religiously following a charismatic leader or devoted to an idea. I would argue that our society, for too long, has adhered almost religiously to the idea that everybody needs to be in a romantic couple in order to be happy. I counter that idea and would even argue that, more often than not, people are as likely to be unhappy when they are coupled as happy.
Sometimes as self-partnered individuals, it can feel like we are single fish swimming in a sea of couples. Everyone seems to have a wedding ring on. Every song on the radio is a love song. No matter where you go, everybody seems to have another person in tow – like a constant shadow. From personal experience, it can often feel like self-partnered folks are the largest of all the minorities. It doesn’t matter your race or religion, statistics show that you more likely than not to be coupled, (more than 60%, according to CNN report link to article), or hoping to be. Those of us who choose to live alone are definitely in the minority. Of the 332 million American adults, only 35.4 million (or less than 11 percent of us) consciously choose to live alone, according to the Council on Contemporary Families fact sheet link to article. Those who are making a choice to not be in a couple are under-represented, for sure, and we often feel under-appreciated.
The majority of social events that I get invited to are ones in which the majority of the people attending are there as a couple. They may mingle as solos – but it’s always apparently clear who belongs to whom. I was even asked at one of these events recently who I belonged to. I of course answered, “I belong to myself.“ It felt like such a strange response, that you have to declare your relationship status for others to fully understand how you fit in their social understanding of you. If I have to be the champion of that response, however, and represent the self-partnered minority, then I accept that challenge.
Obviously, there is nothing inherently wrong with being coupled. But just as obviously, there should be nothing wrong with being uncoupled. The only thing, really, that I have against coupling is when one person is unhappy and complaining to their friends about how unhappy they are. When that begins to happen all the time, however, then they have a responsibility to get out and get on with it. It is not fair to themselves or their partner.
I’m declaring myself as self-partnered primarily because I prefer being alone. There are some great advantages to living completely alone, with nothing but the thoughts of your own head.
It is a great challenge, no denying, and demands that you really come to terms with yourself. It also has great rewards. You do not have to compromise your choices or constantly be in a practice of negotiating your behavior. Your time is completely your own. Maybe it’s the ultimate act of selfishness, but often sacrifices have to be made to pull it off. Still, I am here to argue that it is a valid choice to want to simplify living down to the choices of one person – yourself alone.