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If you think that more women are choosing to stay single -- without a committed relationship or without any plans to marry -- you’re right. Only 20 percent of women aged 18 to 29 in the United States are currently married, according to a recent Pew Research Study cited in a 2012 “Marie Claire” article by Rebecca Traister. In an age in which women have more access to education, career opportunities, and fertility options than ever before -- they are reinventing what it means to come of age as a woman.
The Independent Life
For a lot of women, being single is “just life,” as Traister points out. Just as single men do, single women also go work, spend time with friends and family, pursue hobbies, and clean house. They lead fulfilling lives on their own.
Who Wants to Couple Up, Anyway?
As proud single woman Eleanore Wells points out in her recent “Woman’s Day” article, it’s common for solo gals to get harangued at cocktail parties for not being married “yet.” Single women, however, often choose their lifestyles because of their true desires -- even though it means challenging others’ expectations.
Personal Freedom Is Where It's At
To Wells, even the word Bachelorette and everything it represents makes her "think of cocktails, high heels, and unencumbered weekend mornings.” The ability to make one’s own schedule, free of any significant others’ obligations, is a major perk of staying single.
She Wants Her Own Career
Other women are staying single because they find fulfillment through work, and are focusing on their ambitious career goals for now. Like many men who focus on careers before romance, women feel pride in being rewarded for their hard work at work.
She Has Personal Goals to Achieve
Some women want to achieve personal goals and to exploring themselves before they explore a relationship. Sadie Stein, writing for “Marie Claire,” told the story of how she learned who she was -- by singing karaoke and going to movies alone -- before dating someone new.
She's Unconventional -- On Purpose
Other women may enjoy dating or even entering into monogamous relationships, but eschew marriage because of its historical and cultural baggage. Some women don’t want any of the sexist traditions related to marriage -- and some might just want to rebel against the “cookie cutter” norm, says Michelle Cove, author of the book, “Seeking Happily Ever After.”
Going it Alone Is Such a Kick
Some women truly aren’t interested in marriage. Cove calls this woman, “The Trailblazer.” She is a woman who is happy going against the grain and staying solo -- because marriage just isn’t for her.
Waiting for Mr. Right
Another woman might stay single until she meets someone she's truly in love with. This woman doesn’t want to settle for the wrong guy just because she feels anxious about not being married. Traister points out that as women are waiting longer to get married, the divorce rate is going down; she speculates that this may be because older people know themselves and what they want in a partner.
Because She Can!
More choices have enabled women to stay single and live as independent adults. This is a new societal change, as Traister notes that only 50 years ago a woman could not open a bank account without her husband’s signature. Women are enjoying the freedom to shape their own lives as adults, not just wives or mothers.
Some single women do enjoy dating, but don’t plan to get married or necessarily enter a committed relationship. Wells says that she often has a boyfriend, but that she has turned down marriage proposals before. She genuinely enjoys her “Spinsterlicious” life.
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Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.
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