Anyone who lives alone and manifests no longing to be in a relationship
is in our times, almost automatically, more or less secretly
viewed as both pitiable and deeply troubled.
It's simply not thought possible to be at once, alone and normal.
This sets up for collective catastrophe,
because it means that a huge number of people,
who have no innate wish to live with anyone else,
and are thought deeply ill-suited to doing so
are every year press ganged and shamed into conjugal life
with disastrous results for all involved.
Only once singlehood has completely equal prestige with its alternative
can we ensure that people will be free in their choices
and hence join couples for the right reasons; because they love another person,
rather than because they are terrified of remaining single.
Here, then, are a few of the many good reasons to spend your life alone:
1. Because romantic love is a dangerous illusion.
We should recognize that romantic love
the idea of being deeply enamored of one special partner over a whole lifetime,
is a very new, ambitious and really pretty odd concept, at best 250 years old.
From close-up, over long periods of time,
almost everyone is condemned to be pretty dispiriting and difficult
A good Romantic marriage is evidently theoretically possible,
but it's also be extremely unlikely in practice,
which should make any failure feel a good deal less shameful.
2. No one thinks their partner is terrific - After a while.
Those among us who chose to stay single should not be thought un-Romantic.
Indeed, we may be among the very most Romantic of all,
because it is in the end the fervent Romantics
who should be especially careful of ending up in mediocre relationships:
relationships best suit the kind of people
who don’t actually expect too much from them.
3. We aren't sane enough to be in relationships.
Though it is a sign of some maturity to know how to love and live alongside someone,
it it is actually a sign of even greater maturity
to recognise that this is something one isn’t in the end
going to be psychologically capable of – as a good portion of us simply are not.
Retiring oneself voluntarily,
in order to save others (and oneself)
from the consequences of one’s own inner emotional turmoil
is the true sign of a great and kind soul.
4. Being alone means not inflicting yourself on others.
It spares you from constant reminders of how difficult and strange you are.
No one is there to hold a mirror up – record your antics
and constantly make you accountable for them.
If you’re lucky, you will be able to tolerate and even like yourself if you are on your own.
5. Relationships spoil love.
It may be better to feel alone and be denied sex outside of a relationship
than inside one.
One thing the single are never denied,
All this isn’t to say that being alone is without problems.
There are of course drawbacks to both states,
being single and being in a couple:
loneliness in the one;
suffocation, anger and frustration in the other.
The truth is, we’re simply not terribly good at being happy whatever our relationship status.
Which is ultimately an argument for neither rushing too fast into a couple,
or rushing too fast out of one.