Marriage Is Not for Everyone

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Relationships

Marriage Is Not for Everyone

By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Photo: pikist

 

You feel the pressure to marry from family, friends (especially married ones!), or just from the general culture. Maybe you’d like to marry one day, or maybe you are set against the idea. But you definitely don’t like feeling pushed into finding a spouse, or the implication that there is something wrong with you for remaining single.

If you lean toward wanting to be single, you might find certain benefits in that life choice:

You are being true to you. Whether you want to be single for now or for always, it’s essential to your happiness that you do what is right for you. You may struggle to know your own heart, but that is a struggle worth having.

You have more time to devote to family and friends. Without having to devote yourself to a partner, you will have more time for other relationships. But whether you work to have closer relationships with family and friends or a partner, it is important to nurture a support system — to share experiences with, celebrate the ups with, and help you through the downs of life.

Life has less obligations and responsibilities. Even with family and friends who may require your attention, you are likely freer to do what you want without a partner. Committing to share your life with someone else means, in part, that you take on the responsibility of being supportive of them, as well as agreeing to coordinate your plans, interests, and life activities. And if they struggle, you are agreeing to help lighten their load.

You have more time to devote to work, interests, and hobbies — guilt-free. You might appreciate not having to curtail your passions in order to accommodate a relationship. But beware: You risk diving so far into them that you may wake up one day to discover you are lonely. So be sure to pay attention to your social needs and respond to them by connecting with friends and family.

You can engage in self-exploration and personal development. This might be a life path in itself. Or you might decide to pursue personal healing and growth for a time, preparing yourself for healthier relationships in the future.

If you think that remaining single is the path for you, consider your motivation. Do you truly just enjoy a full life that does not include a partner? Or is there more to it? Are you wanting alone time for a period of introspection and healing? By doing this, you are trying to create an opportunity for growth. Or are you hiding from the world, not wanting to risk getting hurt? Such a defensive position might help briefly as you recover from a painful experience, but it generally creates loneliness and pain in the long term.

Importantly, thinking through your motivation is for your benefit, not others. There is no need to justify your reason for being single to anyone, just as there is no need to justify you having a partner. You might remain single because you enjoy the freedom of that lifestyle, or you might marry because you feel most alive when you share your life with someone you love. Both decisions are equally valid and can lead to very happy lives. Of course, the choice to remain single or to marry can also lead to a very unhappy life if made for the wrong reasons.

People who decide to remain single are generally not choosing to be alone. Instead, they are simply choosing not to commit themselves to a life partner. Whether single or married, most people need personal relationships to feel happy and fulfilled in life. But whether you do this as part of a couple or as a single person is a decision to be made by considering what works best for you.

 

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Important:  This article is part of the WebMD Relationships blog. The articles in the WebMD Relationships blog are for general education purposes only. They should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read in this article.

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