Science Says You’re Better Off Being Single
It’s time to laugh in the faces of people in relationships, because a scientific study has found that when it comes to being social it’s better to be single.
As the weather gets colder and Autumn sets in, the idyllic notion of a ‘Winter relationship’ can start to emerge, encouraging comforting images of cosy nights in and someone to share it with.
Let’s be honest though, we’ve spent enough time indoors this year, and couples who live together probably aren’t as enthusiastic about the thought of staying in as they once might have been.
So, if you’re living life carefree and single, you’re in a pretty good position. Not only because you don’t have to prepare yourself for more endless days working across the kitchen table from a noisy, distracting partner, but also because you’re more likely to have better social ties as we head into what can be increasingly anti-social months.
A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined ties to relatives, neighbours and friends among US adults, and revealed that single individuals are more likely to frequently stay in touch with, provide help to, and receive help from parents, siblings, neighbours, and friends than the married.
Sure, married people might have each other, but if they don’t keep up their social ties with friends and neighbours then who are they going to turn to when they run out of milk on a Sunday evening?
The research used the National Survey of Families and Households (1992–1994) and the General Social Survey (2000, 2004, 2006, 2012), and noted that rather than promoting marriage as a milestone everyone should strive for, we should acknowledge that it comes with ‘social constraints’ and that ‘single individuals have greater involvement with the broader community.’
Researchers found that the differences between married people and single people were more prominent for the singletons who had never been married compared to those who previously had, indicating that the constraints of marriage don’t necessarily end if the relationship does.
It found that being single increases the social connections of both women and men, and that much of the positive relationship between singlehood and social ties remained even when taking into account structural explanations.
The idea of promoting marriage was touched upon by social psychologist Bella DePaulo in a 2017 TEDx talk, when she argued that society undervalues the lives, relationships and stories of single people as the media so often focuses on stories of romance rather than the lives of people who are independent of others.
Being single and being in a relationship both have their ups and downs, but marriage certainly shouldn’t be considered a goal we all need to achieve. If you’re looking to maintain good social bonds, being single might just be the way to go.
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CreditsJournal of Social and Personal Relationships and 1 other
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships