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You don’t have to get married to be happy

by Melvin Durai
You don’t have to get married to be happy
Many single people do want to get married, but others are quite content being single, partly because they know that marriage isn’t a one-way street to happiness.

I’ve been married for a long time – so long that I sometimes forget what it was like to be single. But every now and then, my wife goes on a trip without me and I quickly realize what I enjoyed the most about being single: FREEDOM.

Here are just some of the freedoms you enjoy as a single person:

1. Freedom to sleep as long as you want. You can wake up at 11 a.m., eat breakfast and go right back to bed. (At least when you’re not working.)

2. Freedom to come and go as you please. You can return home at 2 a.m. and nobody is going to ask you where you’ve been or why you’re wearing a dress. (It was ladies’ night at the bar.)

3. Freedom to consume whatever you want. You can eat pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner. You can wake up at 3 a.m. and devour a Stephen King novel.

4. Freedom to be a slob. You don’t have to keep your apartment neat and tidy. You can clean it once a year, whenever the pile of pizza boxes blocks the TV.

5. Freedom to watch whatever you want. No one will object to your viewing choices, whether you’re watching Fox News, Newsmax TV or more intelligent life on Animal Planet.

Of course, many single people do not fully enjoy these freedoms, partly because they live with other people. Some have roommates who impose restrictions of some sort, while others live with parents who don’t believe in the concept of freedom.

Father: “What are you doing on the roof? Cleaning the gutters?”

Son: “No, just smoking some weed. When I asked you if I could do it, you said, ‘Not under my roof.'”

But even if they share their homes with others, single people have plenty to be happy about. They have more time to do whatever they find fulfilling, whether it’s pursuing their career goals, getting together with friends frequently or binge-watching episodes of Divorce Court.

For a growing number of people, being single is a more attractive option than being tied to another person for the rest of their lives.

The percentage of unpartnered Americans (neither married nor living with a partner) between the ages of 25 and 54 rose from 29 percent in 1990 to 38 percent in 2019, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

A study in China found that 42 percent of Gen Zers (those born in the mid to late 1990s) want to remain single. And a poll in India conducted by the dating app Bumble found that 81 percent of women felt “more at ease being unmarried and living alone,” according to an IANS report.

But single people feel a lot of pressure to get married, especially when they attend family gatherings and have to continually answer an annoying question: Is there something wrong with you?

Actually it’s a different question that they keep hearing.

Married cousin: “When are you getting married?”

Single cousin: “I don’t know. When are you getting divorced?”

Married cousin: “What kind of question is that? I’m happily married.”

Single cousin: “Well, I’m happily unmarried.”

Not only do parents put pressure on children to get married before a certain age, married people often engage in “single-shaming” – making single people feel that their lives are lacking, that they must be sad and lonely, that they need a spouse or at least a cute dog.

Many single people do want to get married, but others are quite content being single, partly because they know that marriage isn’t a one-way street to happiness.

They know that the divorce rate has been steadily increasing, exceeding 50 percent in some countries. They know that among people who have stayed married, about half would describe their marriage as “wonderful,” one-third would describe it as a “pretty darn good,” and the remainder would describe it as “meh.”

It’s too easy to marry the wrong person, someone with whom you have little in common, someone whose values you don’t share, someone you’d only choose from a police lineup. “Yes, officer, that’s the person who ruined my life.”

This is why I do not compel single people to get married.

If you find the right person, great. If you don’t, wait.

Just remember: you don’t have to get married to be unhappy.

Lead picture courtesy Sebastian Voortman/Pexels

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Renu September 18, 2023 - 1:34 pm

Melvin it is true that we do not have to get married to be happy as our happiness depends solely upon us. We have
to find our happiness within ourselves.

Dr. Bijal Maroo September 19, 2023 - 11:13 am

Hey Melvin,
Love your sense of humour. The article serves to remind me how lucky I am and that some gratitude is in order here.