The most recent statistic according to the US Census puts singlehood at About 50.2 percent — or 124.6 million American adults, according to an NPR story from 2014.
50%, the highest proportion in the history of America. Why is it that so many are choosing to live a life alone? As a Greek-American woman with a penchant for game theory, I have three good reasons, given my own cultural milieu.
Reason 1: The push to marry has weakened. Speaking from a female point of view, marriage of today, unlike the one of three generations ago, is not mandatory for self-fulfillment. In Greek culture, you were anathema as a single female. Nowadays because so many marriages end in divorce, a solitary woman is not cast with so much negativity as before. A woman who chooses to stay unmarried is not looked at with scorn or pity like she’s some sort of defective object. The social script to marry has lessened a bit. You are not a pariah anymore because a woman is able to pursue a career and individual interests. Her role is not tied to being a wife and mother anymore.
Reason 2: It’s a lose-lose proposition. From the lay of the land around me, so many Greek women are married to less-than-satisfying men. They have to bear the burden of full time work and child bearing AND deal with the whims of kakomathimenon andron because the gender roles have not kept up with economic reality. The feminist battle cry for equality of the sexes has ended up with women doing double duty. Gender roles are still very intact in Greek society, so it does not make a difference that I have come back from a full, grueling day at the office; I will have my mother harangue me about “You did not cook for your family.” My husband does not have to lift a dirty dish, thanks to the collective history of ingrained expectations for males and females in a family. After years and years of double duty, a woman gets fed up, resentful, angry and EXHAUSTED. I compare myself to the women who chose to be single and the lines on my face compared to theirs speaks volumes to who has the better end of the bargain.
Reason 3: In the long-term, it is not worth the investment. Ranier Maria Rilke pointed out that men ruin love because they do not know how to love. 8 out of the 10 relationships I know have grown rotten because of some inability to sacrifice for the other partner. After ten, maybe less, years of a marriage, it’s usually the woman who loses out. She is the one who bears more of the weight of the relationship. She is the one who does more of the work, both inside and outside the home. For men, marriage winds up being a plus because they have a lot more to gain than lose—companionship, care of offspring, the stability of a well-organized home. It is more beneficial for men to marry than women; they get more of the emotional, physical, and psychological advantages. Women lose out across the board. So if one does a simple cost analysis, you will find marriage is not worth it for women. Better to stay single, have children on your own, and live life according to your standards without getting conscripted by another next to you.
In the long run, gathering from the 60% divorce rate, marriage does not last anyway. So the probability that your marriage does survive is less than you winding up single any way. Save yourself the trouble and not get married at all.
So the conclusion is—stay single for as long as possible. Live your life on your own terms. If the tug of motherhood should overpower you, then by all means, have a child. But stay single. Marriage is not worth the effort. Of course, this will fly out the window once your better logic is overpowered by the flames of love. Another silly female will try to win at the game of love, but given the track record, she too will repent.