The Single Life – Women Choosing to Be On Their Own

As little girls, we dressed up in white dresses and held make-believe weddings. We dreamed of a future on Prince Charming’s arm every Valentine’s Day, and assumed happily-ever-afters included marriage.

single women, being single, unmarried women, divorced women, marriage

Forget that! All grown up now, increasingly more women are trading their childhood dreams for a new, marriage-free future. Whatever you want to call the cause–independence, a love for cats, or just thinking outside the engagement ring box — the U.S. marriage rate is its lowest in more than a century — and down 60 percent just from 1970, according to a 2013 study by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research. Meanwhile, women are marrying later than ever before, at the ripe old age of 27. OK, that’s really not that ripe — or old — but our grandmothers would sure say otherwise!

So who isn’t getting hitched this Valentine’s Day? Is it women in their later years who are going through perimenopause or menopause? In actuality, it’s just the average woman who either hasn’t found love — or who has, but just isn’t interested in all of the trappings of marriage. Maybe that includes you.

A Nearlywed Nation

This fall, Glamour ran an article about the “Nearlywed” trend: The movement of increasingly more people living in committed, but not married, relationships. Harking back to 1983, when Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn coupled up (they happily still haven’t tied the knot, by the way!) the piece discusses the soaring number of women who are living in marriage-like relationships (the joint credit cards, the shared mortgage, the in-laws, the kids), but without any official paperwork backing it up. In fact, from 1995 to 2010 the percentage of women who have never married rose from 33 percent to 38 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Why doesn’t marriage hold any appeal to these women? 28-year-old Carrie, for one, thinks marriage (or specifically, the wedding ceremony) has lost much of its real meaning. “Getting married has become too much about everyone else when it’s just supposed to be about the two of you,” Carrie says. “Otherwise, why spend $100,000 on a single day? Why invite everyone you’ve ever met? And why plaster it online to be justified by ‘likes’ and ‘favorites’?”

Divorcées Say “Not Again”

“A trip to the altar is not so appealing for those who have been there before,” reports a recent study from the Pew Research Center. Its findings show that only 29 percent of divorced adults say they want to remarry, and women are more likely than men to say they don’t want another marriage in their future.

For many women, the stresses simply outweigh the hypothetical benefits. “I love male companionship, but I feel it would be too complicated to marry, given financial issues, combining families, and so forth,” says 70-year-old post-menopausal Nancy, who has been divorced for the past 20 years. “I am very independent. I like my freedom.”

More women are expected to join Nancy in post-marriage living. Today, 15 percent of women are either separated or divorced, and fewer of them are likely to remarry, according to Dr. Susan Brown, Ph.D., co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.

‘Till Death Do We Part

Among widowed men and women, only 8 percent want to get married again, according to the Pew Research Center. And no, that’s not just because they are old and set in their ways! In fact, the average age of first-time widowhood among Black men and women is 54, while the average age among white men and women is 61, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

At that age, many women are either battling the hormonal throes of perimenopause or are already in full-fledged menopause. Menopause symptoms, including mood swings, painful intercourse and fatigue can all sap a woman’s desire to date again. Learn how to reclaim your sexual empowerment during menopause.

Also, apart from the same considerations divorcées have to make in terms of blending families and lives, widows have lost their husbands due to death, not loss of love.

“My husband was ill for five years. I was a wife and a nurse,” says Susan, a widow who is 54 years old. “I am not at all interested in getting married again. Why would I? I have grown children, and I am a grandmother. However, I do want love and intimacy again in my life.”

What’s Your Take?

In the end, your relationships have to be yours. So while I certainly don’t wish women not to get married if that’s what they want — after all, I love being married to my husband, David — I’m just ecstatic that so many women (married and single alike) are defining love and life on their own terms, especially if they are going through perimenopause or menopause!

What about you? When do you think the perks of single life outweigh the benefits of marriage?

Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

midlife, menopause

Ellen Dolgen

Ellen Dolgen, menopause education is a mission. Spurred by her own experience struggling with the symptoms of menopause, Dolgen has devoted the last ten years of her life to helping other women during this often difficult time. While she’s not a doctor or scientist, she’s “talked the talk” with countless menopause experts, so that she can “walk the menopause walk” and share the keys to this menopause kingdom. Together with her son, Jack, she created a FREE eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause, a comprehensive guide to all things menopause—the symptoms, the treatments, and the long-range effects on a woman’s health. Dolgen shares the expertise of numerous specialists to replace confusion and embarrassment with medically sound solutions, presented in an entertaining and informative way. There you will find detailed descriptions and treatments for the symptoms you or your loved one may experience, from hot flashes and mood swings to mental fogginess and loss of libido, and lots more in between. In addition to sharing the latest research and proven treatments, Dolgen offers guidance to finding a menopause specialist who’s right for you, and she provides a clear explanation of what tests to ask for. You’ll also learn about the latest studies on hormone replacement as well as alternative therapies and remedies. Finally, Dolgen shares the real-life experiences of women—and those who love them—as they traverse the crazy ups and downs of perimenopause and menopause. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, EllenDolgen.com and her Menopause MondaysTM Blog was born. In addition to Ellen’s ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become “the place” on the web for informative and entertaining women’s menopause and wellness engagement. Ellen has been #1 on Dr. Oz Sharecare.com Top 10 Social HealthMakers on Menopause. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, EllenDolgen.com / Menopause Mondays was named first on the list of the “Best Menopause Blogs” by Healthline. Ellen was honored to be asked to be one of the first regularly featured bloggers on HP50 and so began her syndication on many other health sites. Ellen produces health and wellness programs for businesses, healthcare institutions, and other organizations. She facilitates Menopause Mondays Parties throughout the Country. Ellen chaired a social media roundtable for Novo Nordisk in 2012. In 2013, Ellen was a key spokesperson for GLAMTM (Great Life after Menopause), a non-branded campaign sponsored by Novo Nordisk. In 2015, Ellen partnered with Pfizer on a series of menopause videos with the fabulous award winning Kim Cattrall for their “Tune in to Menopause Campaign.” Ellen has appeared on the “TODAY Show”, “TODAY Kathie Lee & Hoda”, “The Katie Show,” “NBC Nightly News”, “The Rachael Ray Show,” “The Doctors,” Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Doctor Radio, and dozens of regional and national media outlets. In 2011, she appeared in a production of “The Vagina Monologues.” Ellen is the founder and president of Menopause Mondays and is a principal of Dolgen Ventures. Click here to read Ellen's full bio Like Ellen Dolgen on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and Pinterest, connect with her on LinkedIn, Google+, and Klout, watch her videos on YouTube, and subscribe to her newsletter.

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