Life Advice



Single File: Bytes and Exercises

Susan Dietz on

The single person is changing, morphing into a more confident and accepted member of the world. There's much less apologizing for being unpartnered and somewhat less self-searching to explain away the solo life. No more second-rate status in social situations, much less needing to explain showing up solo at social gatherings. The old feeling of being left out of the mainstream is gone; the way things are going, the singleton IS the mainstream! Half of all marriages split apart, fewer people are getting married and each new generation seems to care less for ceremony of any kind! Asked much less often about the reason for their unmarried status, the young'uns have other priorities and goals for their lives. Love and security seem to slip away too easily, they observe, so they'll take their pleasure where they find it. Now. Without strings. And gone is the "swinging single" epithet. The new generations have brought new ways of looking at life; the long term is obsolete. And, rather than chastise, their elders find themselves adopting their viewpoint. It's more practical, easier to manage and best of all, one's individuality doesn't have to be surrendered in the name of love. Yes, it's all shifting in favor of the singleton. The civil partnership is edging out formal marriage in many countries; couples may be together, but they keep their names and their bank accounts -- and their personhood. There is still a yen to couple, to love and to be loved, but now it's taken a different tone. There's much more awareness of -- and insistence on -- one's personhood, the thing that sets them apart and makes them one of a kind. Yes, loving couples still very much want to commit to each other. But not in marriage vows.

I've seen people spend more time choosing their dessert than thinking about the next five years of their life. So, let's skip dessert and meditate on that, shall we? Let's say you're cozily ensconced in a really nice love partnership. You've met someone who's worth leaving single life for, someone who gives you room to be yourself. That's really fine; I'm happy for you -- for both of you, really. But before I melt into tears, a reminder about Aftercare. That is the exercise regimen you do on your own, away from your beloved, to help you remain undependent and to remind you of your own resources. You may not use those resources very often in your coupled life, which makes it doubly important you keep them fit and toned. These are my Exercises in Singleness, more useful and decidedly more important than before, when you were on your own. These are the things you do alone, to tone your capabilities as an individual and a single person. Example? Take yourself to a movie, an afternoon walk, a trip to the animal shelter. It's not important what it is you do, only that you do it without a body alongside. The idea is to use your own resources, your own mind, your own good judgement and to remind yourself of your inner resources that may go into hiding when your partner is around. Think about this: It's really important to keep your single muscles toned and in working condition while you're cozily snuggled in twoness. Need I say more?



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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