Society and mainstream media love to shackle the buoyant and boundless emotion of happiness to three words, ‘I love you’. And a person without a relationship is merely squandering their days of youth. Oh, what is life without that passionate teenage love

Singlehood is not pitiful, it’s powerful. (Unsplash)

Well, reality check, life doesn’t revolve around those three coveted words. A new research conducted by a team of psychologists in Germany at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) rested the case, at least for now. The study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin had surprising revelations; adolescents are satisfied with their singlehood, and embracing it instead. The findings also exhibited a generational disparity in ‘singlehood satisfaction’ between 2001-2003 born adolescents and those born decades ago. The researchers found that 2001-2003-born German adolescents were 3% more likely to be single than those born in 1991-1993.

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Shift in world order

For ages, significant value was attributed to romantic relationships as a major milestone. Singlehood was frowned upon, attracting negative attention like pity, equating singlehood with loneliness and unhappiness. Recently, a rise in the population of single individuals has been observed. With the decline in marriages and a preference for education and pursuing career goals, singlehood is accepted with open arms. Societal pressures to take on adult social roles (marriage and parenthood) ebbed. The world opened up with social media changing the outlook of being single, that it is more than a lonely house of cobwebs. It validated self-sufficiency and exposed unconventional relationships like cohabitation. This era is the flagbearer of personal autonomy, choice, and freedom. This shift resonated with today’s adolescents more than previous generations, making them content with their single lives. Adolescents are more susceptible to the influences around them, altering their attitudes toward relationships. Even the present adolescents show less urgency for relationships. This satisfaction was absent in the earlier generations when they were adolescents, possibly due to the traditional worldview.

Young, happy, and free

Single adolescents are happier with their lives. 75% of the adolescent respondents in the German study were single and felt content. Singles low on neuroticism (less reactive to stress, emotionally stable, and evenly tempered) are more satisfied with their life. They are secure and feel less compelled to be in a relationship. These individuals don’t suffer from FOMO and are confident in being single. Singles with higher neuroticism (inability to cope, poor stress management) feel agitated about their single status and become vulnerable and insecure, directly affecting their life satisfaction. Talking about adult singlehood, women are more satisfied than men, a noteworthy difference from the earlier generations. It’s suggestive of the sociocultural changes in the dynamics of gender roles over the years.

Singlehood is a journey of self-discovery like no other. It’s not the lonely house of cobwebs as everyone makes it to be, it’s the house with a secret garden, waiting to be stumbled upon. Splurge your youth on yourself and your life.

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