“Most Singles Are Perfectly Content That Way, Study Finds,” touts a post on Time Magazine’s site. This information comes from Match.com's Singles in America survey, released last week:
According to the study, developed by Binghamton University and conducted for Match.com, 40% of respondents 21 years old and older are not sure they want to get married, 27% said a wedding is not in their future and just 34.5% said marriage was a must.
I’m slightly surprised that Match would publicize the fact that many single people are perfectly content, considering that marrying people off is kind of their whole thing. You’d think they would release something more alarmist like “Survey Finds Single People Just Really Good at Hiding Their Crippling Loneliness” or “Scientists: Cats Really DO Eat Your Face When You Die.” The Match.com survey offers several other fascinating tidbits, such as this puzzler:
Conservative Republicans (40%) are significantly more likely than other groups to be very satisfied with sex while they’re married. But they also had the least amount of sexual activity in the last 12 months.
The survey also says that Republicans and Democrats want very different traits in a partner, while gay and lesbian singles want the same qualities in a partner as heterosexuals do (I sort of assumed as much, but okay). And as a future old person, I enjoyed reading that people over 60 are having lots of sexy sex.
I have always been ambivalent towards marriage, and it’s nice to hear that others feel the same. On one hand, it seems like I should want a buddy for life: Someone to jump my bones and cosign my loans until we’re both old and grey. On the other hand, I doubt my own ability to commit to one person forever and the divorce rates make it seem like a risky endeavor with diminishing returns. Most of the happiest couples I know are living in sin, unburdened by the weight of matrimonial expectations. Kate Bolick’s now infamous Atlantic article established that the traditional American view on marriage-as-endgame and singledom-as-doom simply doesn't reflect the socioeconomic reality we live in today.
I also have to wonder if the current debate over gay marriage has made a lot of straight people take a fresh and critical look at an institution they may have formerly taken for granted. Everyone should have the right to marry, and they should also have the right to feel okay about not wanting to marry. Could these survey results signify a real paradigm shift in the way we’re thinking about marriage? Will sitcoms have fewer lazy spinster jokes? I guess only time will tell.
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