Women Who Choose To Remain Single

There has always been a double standard as far as being single in middle-age goes. Men always had an easier time of it. In the old days, a single woman in middle-age was known as an ‘old maid’ or a ‘spinster.’ The idea of consciously choosing to live as a single woman was not really considered a desirable option. Why would any woman want to remain single? For the middle-aged woman being single was by default. She didn’t choose to be single she had to be.

Now in the 21st century a woman has the option to remain single with much less social judgment. Nevertheless, what are the issues for a woman who decides to remain single in adulthood?

Right to choose ‘single’ over ‘couple.’ The same thing goes for men. You as a woman have the God given right to be single. The best part about this is you can choose. This adds one more option to the list of what you can do with your life. Judgments aside as to whether it is better or worse to be in a love commitment, like I said, you can choose. When you can choose you are free. Freedom is what we all need and want. Freedom is one of those conditions in life that keeps people healthy mentally and physically.

Value your friendships. Remember true friendships are a source of love when you’ve chosen to remain single in adulthood. The hard part is they usually require a bit of work. They’ll require a little repair from time to time. There can be competitiveness, envy, jealousy, and attempts at control that temporarily divide good friends. The idea is to keep your friendships healthy so they can grow and last. As they deepen the love that is possible in them also increases.

Historically, I think women have been ahead of men in this regard. The intimacy good female friends can offer each other was always a bit better accepted in the social world. Men are now getting a chance to partake in this healthy progression as levels of intimacy between men are more openly accepted and tolerated. Women in this culture have had an easier time showing love for each other without a negative judgment of homosexuality being placed on it. This gender difference has made it emotionally easier to live as a single woman with other women in adulthood.

Managing loneliness by learning how to be ‘by yourself.’ You can practice by taking yourself out. The objective here is to get past the thought that you are inadequate alone. The thought that you are incomplete unless you are part of a couple. Think of it this way, when you feel confident with your individuality, you can take that anywhere. You won’t feel incomplete alone and other people won’t think you’re incomplete when you’re alone either. When you’re more comfortable being ‘by yourself,’ you’ve succeeded in forming a good relationship with yourself.

I think a lot of our problems in life could be avoided if we all were to think in terms of forming a healthy relationship with ourselves. Each and everyone of you needs the care that only you can provide for you. With this kind of love at the foundation anything is possible. The point is you can develop your ability to take care of yourself such that you don’t let yourself get into trouble and you keep yourself healthy.  The weird part is, I seem to be talking about two people, right? Get better at this and it will start to feel so natural it no longer feels like you’re talking about two people. That’s when you know your relationship with yourself has matured.

Make a few good male friends. Men come in handy when you’re a woman who has decided to remain single. Why? For one thing you don’t want to X out the other half of the population just like that. Figure they have a few good things to teach you as a single responsible adult. Remember, men have been involuntarily independent a little longer than women. Society thought at one time that women couldn’t live by themselves unless they were powerful in some unsavory way.

The common judgment was women needed protection. So a few good male friends can come in handy when it comes to learning how to go it alone in certain areas. Especially the ‘I need to fix this that or the other to keep things running category.’ If you’re squeamish about taking care of things you can always hire someone but I’m talking about something better. I’m talking about making yourself stronger and independent through association and learning. Let independent men teach you about independence.

A career makes it easier to remain a single woman. This is for the simple reason that a career will determine a higher pay grade and therefore more options. As a self-proclaimed single woman, a healthy bank book will offer you repose. You’ll be able to relax in the awareness that you can take care of yourself financially when needed. Depending upon a man for financial support while tolerating what you don’t like or want is an old limiting story you can reject. If you are making your own money and you don’t have to depend on anybody for support, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to live freely and develop yourself along the way. Your own funding will allow you the time and resources to do just that.

Fountain of youth: younger men? The older woman on the prowl for younger men is currently known by the slightly demeaning term ‘cougar.’ She is basically partaking in the same fountain of youth or time machine that an older man can utilize if he chases after younger women. The basic idea is the same, a younger lover keeps you young, at least in mind if not in body. Just like the older man runs the risk of waking up the parent-child disappointments of an earlier time, the older woman tends to get a lot of unfinished mother business projected onto her.

In my experience as a psychologist I have found these contaminants from the past to be an interference in having a healthy love-life. You can’t really fix your earlier love-life disappointments by finding substitutes later in life. Healing involves permitting the experience of grief for losses previously suffered while moving to and staying in the present. On the same token, you can’t really stop aging by having sex with younger people. Learning how to cope with aging will require the understanding of same age lovers.

Making peace with your family of origin. Traditionally, women have had a little more family of origin resistance to deal with. There still is a double standard in many families as to how a female is treated when it comes to gaining independence. The old way was to remain in control while ensuring that your daughters get married off well, allowing your sons to leave the family and make their own way in the world. The last remnant of this old world view might show up in the form of a belief that women should avoid living alone and should be coupled up at any age.

There may not be an understandable reference in a family for the single independent woman who has consciously chosen to remain single in marriageable adulthood. Of course, pressures and judgments can also come from a person’s own beliefs about herself. You may not hear people in your family criticize you any longer, but your exposure to the rules and regulations guiding ‘appropriate’ conduct has already been embedded in your mind. Choosing to remain single in adulthood usually leads to additional levels of maturation and emotional separation from the family of origin.

Working through the feeling of ‘loss’ and ‘regret.’ If you’ve had romantic involvements and long-term love relationships you were hoping would have grown into commitments, you may have some losses and regrets to let go of. Unfinished emotional business like this can linger for years in some cases. Grief for the loss of relationships we valued can come in and out of our minds for some time after those relationships have ended. Your choice to remain a single woman may on occasion bring these unfinished emotional experiences to the surface. When that happens you have an opportunity for closure that will naturally facilitate advanced levels of maturation and wisdom.

Suppose your objective to live independently as a single woman had a greater purpose. Suppose the growth and maturation I am talking about only comes when a person is capable of tolerating and living through an emotional experience of being an individual alone. The judgments and warnings you may be getting to avoid being alone in adulthood could be coming mostly from their own personal fears and worries. To become who you really are in this life, from the inside out so to speak, will require an individual risk and adventure some people are not willing to take. Dr. T. Jordan






Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.


  1. Nadine Haven on July 28, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I really appreciate what you post. You have a new subscriber now.

    • admin on July 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks Nadine for visiting my site. I stay at it because I believe there are way too many misconceptions going around about love-life issues. Thanks again. Dr. J.

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