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Are You Better Off Single?

A recent study by the U.S. Census found that over 43% of Americans between 18 and 49 were single.

And over half of them were women. That number has increased by twenty percent since 1980. Amazing. And, only one person inhabits 46% of households. Well, it’s not the same person, but you know what I mean. So in many ways, we are becoming a nation of singles. There are pros and cons to being single and a bunch of experts and bloggers will tell you about the ever-changing rules of how they to live their life and how you should live yours. Ultimately, what really matters is if you are happy with yourself and the life that you choose.

Your Guy’s Guy remained single for many years. In fact, I was single for so long that at family get-togethers no one even asked me when I was getting married. Now that’s being single for a long time. Then, one day a few years back, I casually mentioned to my Mom that I would be getting married the following year. She was understandably startled, and asked who I was marrying. I told her that I had no idea, but that I knew it would happen. And, surprisingly, I met someone special, got engaged, and was married the following year. I’ve been happy ever since, though that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy my single life.

There are a few ways to be single. First, you can be completely unattached and on your own. Maybe you’re searching for someone or maybe not. Another way to be single is if you are dating. You still consider yourself single and not tied down, except on those special Saturday nights when you play a little cowboy and cowgirl rodeo. Or, you’re in a relationship, but not married, so you consider yourself technically single. Whether you decide to exercise your “single” options is another matter. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each state of being single.

1. On your own.

A lot of guys and many women fall into this category of trolling the bars and clubs and gyms and wherever else you decide to hunt. You’re out so much that at home your staples are ramen noodles, a comfy couch, and a media diet of ESPN or DWTS. You’re probably interested in finding a partner, even if only casually and occasionally, but sometimes it’s hard work.

I’ve been in this special place, and at times it can be a blast. You are free to go wherever you choose or just sit at home in your sweats and twist open a few cold ones while watching the Knicks game. But over time, you don’t love being alone onthose Saturday nights while your besties are hooked up.

This version of single works better when you’re in your twenties than in your forties. By the time you reach forty, you may not mind staying home on a Saturday night. At this stage, you probably prefer snuggling on the couch with an attractive partner who knows how to whip up a great meal and pour a glass of Sancerre more than being alone and stretching out like Al Bundy with one hand tucked in your waistband and the other around a can of PBR. Just sayin’. No judgments, but ultimately, people are meant to be together.

2. Dating.

Some people can date up a storm and they love it. Most men enjoy a variety of partners, especially for a roll in the hay. Women like having a stable of different go-to guys for different activities. Stud boy for sexual release, the intellectual to see that French flick, and maybe a gay friend for lunch. It’s a great time in life and it’s great to mix it up. Usually though, at some point things get complicated and you need to make decisions and do the necessary house cleaning with your group of partners. That can get sticky. I’ll risk being taken to task here, but from my experience, women still are a bit more interested than guys in dating when it leads to a relationship rather than it leading to just more dating. A generalization, but worthy of consideration. And again, no judgments. Whatever works at the time is all that matters.

3. Single, but in a relationship.

We’ve all been here. Because a guy has not put a ring on it, a woman is still technically single. So, she can do as she pleases and date whoever she wants. But does she? This one is tricky for the ladies. At times they remain in a relationship far too long, hoping their guy will pay attention and make a commitment, or not. Many guys still consider the word commitment as a death sentence or form of punishment. They fear settling down. I know that I did. A famous former athlete once said that you can go far deeper in every way with one special lady than when you are juggling multiple partners. Although I loved my variety, I now agree. Women really know how to give when they feel loved, and that’s a wonderful thing.

There are many ways to be single and they can all be good. So can being in a committed relationship. What matters is that whatever status of “singlehood” that you’re currently in, you make it work for you. Make yourself happy first. Then, if you choose, you can share it someone else.

Our Guy’s Guy of the Week is none other than George Clooney—one happily single guy.

Are you in the right stage of “single” to make you happy?