The featured article on Yahoo grabbed my attention this evening. Actually two related articles: Marriage Loses its Edge and The Cost of Being Married vs Being Single.
The first article reports that over half of American adults are currently unmarried. Of that unwed group, the largest sector is co-habitating with other people in some fashion. The second largest sector (14 million) are households headed by single women.
14 million women running homes singlehandedly across America... Wow. Being one of them myself, I found the article of great interest. Particularly this quote:
"Overall, what I see is a situation in which people -- especially children -- will be much more isolated, because not only will their parents both be working, but they'll have fewer siblings, fewer cousins, fewer aunts and uncles," the scholar argued. "So over time, we're moving towards a much more individualistic society."
This is not just some article that I am reading about "other people". It's something that I am personally familiar with, and see all around me everywhere that I look. I'm sure that many of you can relate in one sense or another.
On the one hand, I find it incredibly sad. I think what bothers me most is wondering what the end result will be in generations to come. But at the same time, I am very happy with my life as it is and understand that for a lot of women this is a personal choice that gives them much freedom and independence.
For many others, it's a very hard life.
The second article (Costs, Married vs Single) basically threw a bunch of numbers around and came to the conclusion that 'two heads are better than one':
"...two heads are better than one. Like most any issue, finances are more easily worked out with a partner. Singles have no one to bounce things off of, while married people tend to work things out together..."
I'm not so sure that I agree with this statement. Sure, if you're a newlywed - or you were lucky enough to find yourself happily married to a best friend that communicates with you openly. But realistically - are financial issues not one of the top stressors in any relationship?
And who says "single people" have no one to bounce things off of? Maybe my situation is totally unique (ha!) but my husband was never interested in the finances and I made most (if not all) if those decisions alone while I was married. And the friends that I have now that I have been single for 7 years offer plenty in the way of "someone to bounce ideas off of" anytime I like (thank you to my friends - I love you for that!).
All said and done, I didnt walk away from these two articles with anything that I didnt already know (or feel) - outside of the actual statistics...
I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Of course, if you're married you cant really say that you'd prefer any other situation 😉 . But if you're single - is this your preference... or do you feel your life would be easier, richer, more rewarding, etc if you found a life partner?
Having been on both sides of that fence already, I rather prefer where I am. This is one case where the grass doesnt at all seem to be 'greener on the other side'. Maybe I'm missing out on a lot of love and happiness. Maybe I'm missing out on a lot of hassle and heartache. Maybe this is just life since my husband walked out, and I'll worry about choosing another one after my children are raised. Who knows?
But it leaves me wondering if there arent better solutions for our "new generation of singles"... perhaps roommates, community housing, or something along those lines. Where everyone can enjoy the benefits of the group/family vs "isolation".