You don’t want a partner, you love living alone and you don’t date: you thought it was just you, but it’s not. Welcome to the single-positive revolution. By The Times
There’s an inevitable moment when catching up with old friends, a look of pity that accompanies the question “Any joy on the dating front?” Well, I say, “Joy — yes! Dating — no, thanks.” Life is joyful precisely because there is none of the anxiety, disappointment or heartache that usually accompanies relationships. I finally have autonomy over my brain since its liberation from domestic politics, in-laws and hidden credit-card bills. As a single and sociable working parent to two children, aged four and seven, my headspace and my diary are at capacity, my heart and bed brimming. I patiently attempt to explain all this to incredulous expressions, but I sense they think I’m missing something or, rather, someone. It is, of course, as if I am incomplete without that other half.
Next time I see them, though, I’ll be bringing the latest trend reports with me. I am, according to the forecasters, “single-positive” — along with a growing number of happy singles, singledom is my choice. No need for sympathy, smug marrieds, I’m finally validated. I’m trending. “There has been an attitudinal shift,” reads the Future Laboratory’s recent briefing on the Uncoupled Society. “For some, singledom is not a state that they long to be out of, but a lifestyle choice with benefits. Family and marriage are no longer the primary focal relationships for consumers.” It cites Euromonitor’s prediction that by 2030 single-person households will see faster growth than any other household type globally. Meanwhile the ad agency J Walter Thompson has just produced a bumper trend report on the so-called Single Age. “Single people are steadily becoming not outliers but a new norm,” it reads, “and they report finding great satisfaction in their decision.” The new singleton is, according to one of JWT’s case studies — Aleijuan, a fortysomething entrepreneur — “enlightened, self-aware, compassionate, open-hearted. I don’t feel defined by my relationship status. I’m defined by my individuality.”