I just read an online article that refers to a NY Times health blog post about single people getting a raw deal. It is a social phenomenon psychologist Bella DePaulo calls “Singlism” – discrimination against those who are unmarried. Government policies often favour married people. Couples get tax breaks that singles don’t. Socially and politically, singles often contribute more than married people – family obligations, volunteer work, community involvement.
I was married – once common-law, once legally – but at this stage of my life, I’m single and loving it. I thrive on solitude and enjoy being responsible solely for myself. However, there is a downside, and that includes things like:
1. Living on one salary – daily expenses plus special occasion gifts
2. Having to do everything myself – no ‘live-in assistant’ or husband
3. Paying a penalty on vacations (as a single) or having to go with someone
4. No tax incentives (married couples get them)
5. People assuming I have more free time because I don’t have husband or kids to care for
I sympathize with people, especially women, who feel stigmatized by singlehood. I used to believe that being part of a couple meant I was more attractive and valuable. That has changed – with time, experience and perspective.
Politically and economically, the reality of single people needs to be faced and changes made. Whether single by choice or circumstance, whether male or female, whether younger or older, single people are here to stay. We deserve to be affirmed politically, economically and socially.
How can we make this happen?