January 18, 2007
On Single Women
After yesterday's New York Times article hit -- 51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse -- I was shocked by how many girlfriends pinged me about it, regardless of what their status was -- single, married, divorce.
Interestingly enough a man -- Sam Roberts -- wrote the piece although three women contributed to it. He starts with a quote that really resonated with me and so many women I know. It's powerful: "A gentleman asked me to marry him and I said no. I told him, ‘I’m just beginning to fly again, I’m just beginning to be me. Don’t take that away.’”
I connected with the "I'm just beginning to fly," not the "don't take that away," a fear that I frequently hear from both sexes. A relationship doesn't HAVE TO take something away and yet for so many women -- and men -- it often ends up feeling like a sacrifice rather than a union.
In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000. Why the shift? They point to many logical reasons, such as women marrying later or living with unmarried partners, are still more likely to delay remarriage than a man and YES, delight in a newfound freedom. I hear the latter more often than not, moreso since I relocated to the west coast.
Women are simply less dependent on men or the institution of marriage and in many cases I know, the man is more dependent on her for emotional strength and a pay check. Many women I know who went the traditional route for the duration (meaning raising a family from start to end), felt more like a wife and a mother and less like a woman.
It will be interesting to see whether the shift will do a 360 in the next generation and what will cause it. After all, most people want to find a life partner, or at the very least, a best friend they're attracted to, so they don't eat or do weekend activities alone.
I think it is just becoming easier and easier for many to fulfill partnership needs with temporary jolts of the stuff that gives relationships its juice without all the issues that come with real intimacy.
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At any rate, the trend might be a good thing. Aren't married women supposed to live *shorter lives* than their single sisters? (Naturally, the reverse is true for men)
Posted by: Jason | Jan 19, 2007 4:45:05 PM