The terminology used when describing singles is rarely a flattering . The absence of a romantic partner, seems to lead to conclusions indicating there is a dysfunction at bay. One area where this occurs is in our ability to bond to another human being. I can testify to this myself having been on the receiving part. Here is a small selection of some personal favorites: attachment disturbance, intimacy deficit, full blown commitment phobia or how about being too “afraid to love” ? In the psychological lingo there is a self- explained term “avoidant attachment style”, which I got diagnosed with amateurishly by ex-class mates. The chosen wording clearly doesn’t do the single demographic any favors, while the contrary can be assumed for the “in a romantic relationship” population.
Personally, it took me years to realize that being long term single didn’t need to represent a type of error but in fact could be an expression of strength and a set of skills. I believe there is a shortage of positive expressions being ascribed to singles. Therefore I made it my mission to even out the imbalance, and expand the vocabulary by presenting counter expressions that can be used when communicating singles’ abilities.
Social influence resilience
I strongly believe society holds some conception and beliefs, that are so deep-rooted in the majority of people it rarely gets questioned . One example is the highly valued attachment in monogamous ( mainly heterosexual) relationships (more about this in the post “the check list of life and being single” which you can find here: https://nouseibah.com/2018/09/28/the-check-list-of-life-and-being-single/) . The quality of the relationship is not what’s central. The acceptance and presumed happiness is founded in the attachment itself. The general opinion being that a romantic relationship, though it might be rubbish, is better than having “none”. Validation from the public is not solely restricted to whether you tick “yes” or ” no” to being in a romantic relationship. There is also an hierarchical upgrading system within the romance companionship category (living apart, cohabitants, engaged, married). The different statuses represent level of commitment. The upgrading package is accompanied by a time table sheet, presenting at what age and after what extent of time an upgrade is expected to occur. Usually, the stronger the correlation between commitment level and the time table schedule, the greater the social reward. Longevity of a romantic partnership is also of relevance. The longer two people manage to hold on to one another, the loader the applause from society. Singleness might be the attractive choice after puncturing holes in these belief structures and shredding the time table schedule. Instead of navigating through life peeking at the predetermined template dictating which turn to make, the single may feel more inclined to follow their own unique route. So, instead of claiming that singleness is a form of inability to bond to another, perhaps it’s based on an inner awareness disregarding societies illusions and approval system.
Healthy release ability
In romantic companionship I’ve noticed that there seems to be an underlying assumption that a break up is somehow a failure. It might be a sense of failure for oneself and/or in the public eye. Another side effect of an ending, is having to face the separation process that comes with it. Separations usually involve painful emotional turbulence, even at times when our rational mind knows its for the better. Frankly, I’ve observed plenty of times people holding on to a relationship for dear life, getting more entangled by having a child or getting married in desperate attempts to avoid a break up and save the sinking ship. So couples latching on to each other could actually be driven by the fear of “failure” and/or separation. From this angle being single might be a result of not “clinging on” but showing sings of being equipped with a “healthy release ability”. This ability mean showing advancement in admitting the inevitable and acting upon such impulse.
Last but not least, the foundation between two individuals who’ve established a romantic bond might be due to a codependency situation. The thought of detachment can be perceived as threatening emotionally, socially or even financially. Emotionally speaking, one or both, might depend heavily on each others validation. Socially, there might be a fear of being alone and the parties function as a distraction or band aid, never having to experience being solo. Or the financial wiring can feel too complicated the easy way seems to continue being tied up. Among singles the same type of “need” for another might not exist. Being emotionally validated can come mainly from oneself and/or other sources. Living solo is not a fear inducing state needing to be escaped. Quite the contrary having alone time is a preference and valued . Being single might be the walking example of economical stability and providing for oneself. Altogether I would say this suggests a healthy and secure independence with beneficial symptoms.
If singleness is a reflection of advanced skills and abilities matched up with with a higher resilience against societal influence and its reinforcement, it would indicate malfunction in privileged twoness community. Being involved in a romantic relationship may in fact be signs of weakened social influence resilience , an impaired ability to release or an insecure independence. Would these labels apply to every couple? Probably not, it’s not black or white and that’s exactly my point. The same goes for singles. Before communicating the “lack” this or “impaired” that about singles’ abilities, how about approaching it from another perspective? I truly believe it’s time to flip the script and find alternative ways to talk about singles’ and give credit where credit is due.