Many single women, even if their loneliness lasts only a couple of months, have to listen to strange comments about their personal life. Why aren't you dating anyone? Don't worry, you're beautiful! You'll definitely find someone. It's so inspiring that you're happy and free. Every such phrase makes you want to roll your eyes.
These comments become even more strange as the age approaches, when everyone around believes that a woman should have someone, and if there is no one, then she is sad and lonely. And although some, of course, worry about the lack of a couple, not every free woman is looking for a partner, dreams of a serious relationship or turns her personal life into a feminist statement.
In society, a single woman is often viewed from two points of view: either she is too independent, or she was too traumatized by past relationships. And few people wonder why she can't enjoy a free life or worry about loneliness, but not turn into a walking stereotype.
All the comments that single women hear, all the labels that are put on them, and all the problems they face are not just annoying factors, but part of the whole system. A system that gives preference to couples rather than free people.
Social psychologist and author of the book "I am alone, and I like..." Bella DePaulo calls it singlism, meaning by this term, among other things, the constant praise of matrimonial relationships and the stigmatization of singles, regardless of whether they are divorced, widowed or have always been on their own.
Of course, singleness is not such a harsh form of discrimination as, for example, racism. But it is still quite real, widespread and affects people's lives. Here are just a few stereotypes that single women regularly encounter.
In 2018 DePaulo published the results of the study B. M. DePaulo, W. L. Morris. The unrecognized stereotyping and discrimination against singles / Current Directions in Psychological Science with the participation of 1,000 students. People who were not in a relationship, they often called immature, insecure, selfish, unhappy, lonely and even ugly. But married people were described as mature, stable, honest, happy, kind and loving. So yes, this is completely wrong, but a common stereotype.
The belief that loneliness is not a choice reinforces the idea that something is necessarily wrong with people without a couple. But that's not true, and even if a single woman is struggling to find a partner, she's fine.
Let's be honest: society is confident that people are much happier in couples. But mostly it's not.
Bella DePaulo analyzed the data of an 18‑year study R. E. Lucas. Time does not heal all wounds: A longitudinal study of reaction and adaptation to divorce / Psychological Science and found that its participants experienced only a small surge of happiness in the wedding year, and then their feelings returned to the previous level. Participants who remained free during the entire observation period initially felt only slightly less happy (0.2 points on an 11‑point scale) than participants who eventually got married and kept the marriage . At the same time, the average level of happiness of single participants always remained in the "green" zone and was not much lower than the level of happiness of married people (by no more than 0.6 points). So, contrary to popular belief, marriage doesn't necessarily make people happy.
Lonely people are often asked to stay at work longer or switch shifts. After all, others are sure that a woman without a partner has much more free time and holidays do not have much meaning for her, so there can never be any plans.
But if a woman does not have a partner with whom she can spend a free evening, weekend or vacation, this does not mean that she has nothing to do. She has friends, family and loved ones, and the absence of a couple does not make the time spent with them less valuable and important than the time of people who have this couple.
Some people sincerely believe that a single woman "desperately" wants to get together with someone. This stereotype is partly based on the idea that women are not able to get satisfaction from masturbation and are ready to sleep with anyone, or, conversely, that they need a deep emotional connection to get sexual pleasure.
Sex in women is not always associated with emotions, it is an outdated myth. Besides, not everyone needs another person to satisfy their sex needs. Of course, some women need a permanent partner, but there are others who choose solitude because they want to have sex with different people whenever they want.
"She is alone because she demands too much" is an antediluvian misogynistic view of the world that has long outlived itself. The presence of needs does not make a single woman spoiled and overly demanding, and her loneliness does not mean that she has a complex character.
Independence is one of the few positive associations associated with loneliness. But even it turns into a disadvantage, because single women are terribly independent.
This is a clear example of double standards. On the one hand, a woman is expected to raise her own children, provide for herself and her family, or combine work, personal life and, possibly, also study. Such independence deserves praise.
On the other hand, the same woman is immediately labeled "too independent" as soon as it turns out that she does not need a partner. The reasons may be different: she has been living without a couple for a long time, she has a wonderful career, she is raising children, she is comfortable alone or she is picky about who she is ready to spend her time with and who she is not.
It's time to stop expecting independence from women, and then consider that it is impossible to meet them because of it.
This thought runs like a red thread through all the other stereotypes. They all boil down to one thing: a woman is lonely because something is wrong with her. She needs a relationship, she is too independent, she is immature, broken or unattractive.
Discussing stereotypes about single women is important and necessary. At the same time, no one encourages them to remain like this. For some, this lifestyle fits perfectly, for others it does not fit at all. A biased attitude towards single people just proves how hard it is to be a single woman. But it's okay if you're single and you're sad about it, or if you want a relationship and are tired of feminist calls to be content with being alone.
Our world revolves around couples, relationships and marriage. When you are constantly told that you are missing something very important, living alone can be damn difficult. Not to mention the fact that there are no tables for one in restaurants, and unmarried women have tax benefits. It doesn't matter if you enjoy your loneliness or not, want a relationship or not, remember that strange comments about your personal life are just baseless prejudices. Your feelings matter.