Like other relationships in our lives, positive romantic relationships play an important role in fulfilling our needs for social connection, intimacy, and love. It’s exciting, fun, and makes a person feel good. So, how come others choose to not get in a relationship? Couples counseling platform Regain answered it’s because some don’t want to comprise their values or wants or they don’t want to give up their emotional freedom. Some have past trauma and there are those with low-self esteem or have insecurities. The fear of being rejected is too overwhelming to them or perhaps, they just don’t see a need to commit to someone.
Half of the singles are not on the dating market
A recent report by Pew Research Center even shows that nearly half of single adults in the US don’t want a romantic relationship or even a date. Many of them have more important priorities in life than coupling. Based on a national random sampling of nearly 5,000 adults in the US are involved in the research.
The think tank also found that another 10% of the participants want nothing more than just casual dates. Some 26% said they would be interested in casual dates or a committed romantic relationship and only 14% say they are looking “only” for a serious romantic relationship.
Relationships and happiness
Psychoanalytic psychotherapist Douglas LaBier Ph.D., who was not involved in the study, said that both men and women often lament their prospects for happiness if they don’t find their other half. They are the ones who dread the idea of “ending up alone.” He cited a study from Michigan State University, which assessed the happiness level of more than 7,000 people. These participants are a mix of married, previously married, and those who remained single from age 18-60. About 80% of the participants had been consistently married (one marriage) and 13% had been in and out of relationships. Then, 8% had been consistently single.
The MSU researchers examined how participants have rated their happiness by relating to the certain group they belong to. Co-author William Chopik said staking one’s happiness on being married isn’t a sure bet. The study shows that the level of happiness of the lifelong singles and those who had varied relationship histories didn’t even differ.
LaBier opined that a sense of fulfillment and well-being is more rooted in the overall life and not just whether one is in a relationship or not. Even those in a long-term one marriage relationships stay married despite a sense of flatness, deadness, or outright anger with their partner. If the goal of coupling is to find happiness, it seems a little silly, he added. Instead, what supports our overall well-being involves several dimensions, including how you behave, feel, and think as well as the societal context in which you live.
Going back to the 2020 Pew Research Survey, it reveals that fully half of the single adults say they are not currently looking for a relationship or dates. However, single men (61%) are far more likely than single women (38%) to be looking for a relationship or dates.
The partnered, the single, and the “dater”
Pew Research centers consider the participant as partnered if they said they are married, living with a partner, or are in a committed romantic relationship (69% of adults overall). Anyone who said they are not married or living with a partner and indicated that they’re not currently in a committed relationship is considered “single” (31% of adults overall). Then, single adults who are looking for a committed relationship or casual dates are defined as a single-and-looking, dater, or on the dating market (15% of adults overall).
Singles who are interested in a romantic relationship are generally open to dating people from a variety of backgrounds or with many different traits. For instance, a large majority say they would consider a relationship with someone of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than them. However, 51% said they would not even consider being in a committed relationship with someone who lives far away or has a significant amount of debt (49%).
Common reasons why they’re uninterested in romantic partnering
A substantial number of younger adults (41%) said they just liked being single. Some of their reasons why they are not interested in romantic partnering are that they are too busy (20%), haven’t had luck in the past (18%), feel like no one would be interested (17%), not ready after losing a spouse or ending a relationship (17%), feel like I am too old (17%), and have health problems that make it difficult (11%).
Population distribution by marital status
In South Korea, UN Data shares that there are about 1,422,308 singles (never married) aged 25 – 29 in 2015. The data is based on a 20% sample survey of all enumeration districts. As for the female population of the same age group, they are about 1,117,085. Worldwide, marriage is in decline. In a report released by UN Women titled Families in a Changing World, it indicates that 4.3% of women worldwide get to their late forties without ever marrying and the differences by region are striking. In New Zealand and Australia, for instance, 1 out of every 7 women in their late forties has never been married. In Southern and Central Asia, the same is true for only 1 in 100 women.
There are also indicates that the number of lifelong single people may increase dramatically in the coming years. Staying single offers people, women, in particular, advantages to complete their education, support themselves financially, and gain a stronger foothold in the labor market. But this does not mean marriage is not good. More than it protects taxpayers, children, and society from a set of costs, marriage is a powerful sustainer and creator of human and social capital for adults and children. Studies have also shown that married people live healthier and longer lives but power is more evident in late middle age. Marriage likewise makes financial sense.
Some people can be just as happy being single as in a couple. So, how do you feel about looking for a long-term romantic partner? How do you envision your life with a spouse? The bottom line is that single life can be authentic and more meaningful to you too. But you know, some people never come around to the idea of tying the knot until they meet the right person.