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"Please stop asking if we have met anyone." 8 women over 30 on why they're single by choice.

Some names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Single people are often branded with tired stereotypes portraying them as unlucky in love, unhappy, and lonely. 

But for many women, being single is actually a conscious choice. 

One that makes them feel fulfilled, successful and even, dare we say, happy. 

For these women, living without a partner has a number of benefits like freedom, independence and stronger friendships. 

In fact, according to Bella DePaulo, an academic affiliate of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara, single people have more friends than those in relationships and are actually less likely to be alone.

"Single people have more friends. They’re more likely to stay in touch with their friends and relatives and neighbours and colleagues, whereas couples who move in together or get married tend to marginalise other people," DePaulo told Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky. 

"It’s the single people who are less likely to be alone in the sense of not having anyone. They’re more likely to have a robust network of people who matter to them."

Watch: Things single people always hear. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

While DePaulo says there's plenty of research that shows happiness isn't always aligned with being partnered up, the world we live in is still set up for couples. As such, single people can face their own set of roadblocks that those in relationships may take for granted. 

"Everything from laws and policies to ordinary social life is organised around couples. From discounts you get in all sorts of goods and services to really profound things like the now documented ways people who are seriously ill get more aggressive treatment if they have a romantic partner or spouse than if they're single."

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To find out exactly what it’s like to be single by choice, we asked eight women who are over the age of 30 and happily single to share the benefits and challenges that come with it. 

Here’s what they had to say. 

"I came out of an extremely toxic relationship and it took me two years to find myself." - Tina, single for two years. 

For Tina*, the decision to be single came down to not wanting to settle.

"I came out of an extremely toxic relationship and it took me two years to find myself and rediscover my purpose. Once I found it, I didn’t want to settle for anything less than what I deserved and there were too many men out there not up to par."

Unfortunately, like other women who choose to be single, Tina says people judge her "every day - unconsciously".

"The first question asked at a party, work event or small chat is always ‘do you have a partner?’ We need to seriously reconsider these chats as small talk, they get old quickly."

While she says being single means you get to be "the decision maker [and] the world is your oyster" there are some challenges that come with it.

"Financially, looking to purchase a house is hard and I eventually want to raise a family."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "Your 20s are about having fun, making mistakes and learning from them. By the time you get to your 30s you have learnt from those mistakes and aren't prepared to settle for anything less than perfect."

"I have a chronic illness and I find it hard to date." - Kelly, single for 10 years.

Kelly says being single gives her the space and freedom to do whatever she wants.

"I have a chronic illness and I find it hard to date and also find it hard to open up to new people, but being single provides me with space and down time when needed."

Like Tina, Kelly says she gets judged "all the time". 

"I'm not particularly maternal and people constantly say that I'll change my mind when I meet the right person. If they get pushy I'll slide in my illness and it usually shuts them up (sometimes this is quite amusing)."

But while her family and friends are supportive, she says, "I know my parents wish I would settle down and have a family and I genuinely feel like I have let them down, but even without my health struggles I know I wouldn't have had kids."

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Kelly also finds that she can be left out of things from time to time. 

"I am excluded from some things, not always on purpose, but it does hurt... Sometimes you don't get invited to functions because it's a couple thing and when there's something on you don't have an automatic plus one."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "Life can be great, you have more time to be involved with your family, to explore your hobbies, take care of yourself and eat whatever the hell you want for dinner."

"I'm asexual and aromatic, and I just don't have that drive to be with another person." - Vivienne, single for 11 years. 

Having come out of her last relationship at 22, Vivienne says she "just not interested" in being with someone. 

"I'm asexual and aromatic, and I just don't have that drive to be with another person. I also love my independence."

While she says she’s never felt any judgment or pressure to partner up, "some people seem baffled that I'm not interested in love or relationships". 

But there are plenty of benefits that come with being single.

"You're not accountable to anyone else, you can do what you like, and it makes you self-sufficient. Also, I feel like it removes a lot of drama from my life!"

What she wants other people to know: "Do what makes you happy!"

'My mother continually says to my siblings "I pray she’ll meet the right person". She will never understand my choices.' - Kerry, single for 10 years.

For Kerry, being single comes with certain benefits like freedom and the chance to be "unapologetically selfish".

"I value my own time, do what I want when I want and I don’t need to ask 'permission'. I prefer to be happy single than unhappy in a relationship. I love that I am financially independent and have agency to choose my own path."

While she says the "majority of people are supportive" of her decision, there are some people in her life that still don't understand. 

"My mother views marriage as happiness (even though she has been unhappily married for over 40 years) and success... and continually says to my siblings 'I pray she’ll meet the right person'. She will never understand my choices."

"I also have one good friend who married in early 20s and had three children in her 20s who doesn’t understand why I’m still single."

On the plus side, Kerry says "being single means that I value my friendship more than my friends in relationships, likely because I don’t always have someone else around".

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What she wants other people to know about being single: "It doesn’t mean hate men (or preferred sexual orientation), hate children, lonely, are of less value or not content with your life. You can live a happy, content and successful life."

Listen to The Quicky’s full interview with Bella DePaulo and two women who are happily single by choice. Post continues below.

"People can't seem to get their head around the idea that I am utterly content being single." - Clare, single for seven years. 

When Clare tells people she's happily single, "they immediately tell me stories of friends who were single then met someone on Tinder".

But Clare says she has "zero interest" in joining dating apps. 

"People can't seem to get their head around the idea that I am utterly content being single. I don't want to have kids, people also struggle with this decision. Friends all try to push me to go on dating apps and can't understand that I am content with my life. I have a great job, two dogs, amazing friends. My life is very full. I can't even imagine where a partner would fit in my life."

When it comes to her family, Clare’s parents are fairly divided over her decision. 

"My parents divorced in their late 60s after 40 years of marriage and my mother is very supportive of me being single as she is feeling free and truly happy for the first time in a very long time. She intends to remain single for the rest of her life."

"My dad got a new girlfriend as soon as my parents separated and he pushes me to get out into the dating scene. He worries I will be a lonely old woman. He is also very disappointed that I won't be giving him grandchildren."

Clare also says there are some limitations of being single when it comes to finance. "As a single person I won't be able to afford to break into the housing market on a single income so it looks like I will always have to rent."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "Being single doesn't mean I'm lonely. I have a fabulous group of close girlfriends who I love spending time with. Many of them are also single in their late 30s and early 40s as they will not settle for less than they deserve... I don't miss being in a relationship. I get to live my life unapologetically on my terms... If the right person walks into my life I am open to it, I just have absolutely zero interest in proactively 'dating'."

"Studies show that single people are actually more involved in their community and more connected, and I completely agree with that." - Lucinda, single for 39 years.

Lucinda has never been in a proper relationship. 

"My life is awesome, I haven't found anyone yet who would make it better. Also, I hate dating - trying to figure out if you like someone and they like you, trying to avoid playing games, men who don't like to take no for an answer, unsolicited dick pics."

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When it comes to her family’s opinion, Lucinda says they’re perfectly fine with her choice to be single. But she still gets the occasional comments. 

"I'm lucky. I still get some extended family members or friends who make comments about setting me up with someone or how it would be great to have more great-grandchildren in the family, but not much. I think they've all gotten used to this being me and they can see I'm happy."

She also finds that being single has affected her relationships with friends. 

"Some hetero couples do not feel comfortable socialising as a couple with a single woman. So I don't form good friendships with those people. Also, I get frustrated when someone I'm friends with insists on always having to bring their partner.

"On the flip side, [being single] affects my relationship with friends in positive ways. I have the freedom to be friends with whoever I like… and I can spend more time with friends because I don't have to allocate time to spend with a partner or his friends/family or other commitments."

"Studies show that single people are actually more involved in their community and more connected, and I completely agree with that."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "There are a lot of interesting things about a person other than their relationship status... We are not lonely! Please stop asking if we have met anyone - (a) it is a really boring question, (b) we will almost certainly tell you unprompted if it happens, and (c) it makes us feel like you think something is wrong with us, or something is missing from our life… just because they are single doesn't mean we are interested!"

"I think my mum used to worry for me during my late 20s, but that went away when she saw I was truly happy being on my own." - Siobhan, single for 21 years.

Siobhan has been single for 21 years after her last relationship ended was when she was 24. 

Despite the fact that she tells people that she's "eternally single", she still comes across people who think she'll eventually change her mind. 

"I have had newly partnered up couples who want everyone to be as happy as they are suggest that I’ll change my mind when I meet the right person, 'after all, look at us'."

"There has also in the past been judgement from male partners of my friends who didn’t like my friends coming out with me. Apparently I might encourage cheating behaviour, I guess in an attempt to make all the women single."

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Having only had two boyfriends in her life, Siobhan says her family find it "normal for me to be single".

"I think my mum used to worry for me during my late 20s, but that went away when she saw I was truly happy being on my own."

"I am very aware how lucky I am to have great friends and a loving relationship with my family, as that is not everyone’s experience; and that without these relationships maybe I’d feel differently about not being with a partner."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "I think single is our natural state. The only relationship we don’t get to choose is our biological family and even then, there are many time we choose to disengage from that relationship. Our other relationships are choices; we choose our friends, we choose our partners... For me I’m not single by choice, I’m choosing relationships I want to be in and currently none of those are romantic."

"It's not for everyone, but for me it's an absolute gift." - Kelstar, self-partnered for one and a half years.

When people ask Kelstar about her relationship status, she tells that she’s "self-partnered". 

"[I say] that my cup is full with my beautiful friends and family. I feel no pressure to leave anywhere early, or to bolt home to get dinner on. That I love curling up on my couch in my peaceful home."

Having previously come out of a nine-year relationship, Kelstar enjoys the benefits of being single like not having to rely on someone else and having more free time to catch up with friends. 

"I'm tired of filling roles and emotional holes. I'm really giving and I've spent my life revolving around others. It's scary but I want to live for me now."

However, single life does have a few drawbacks.

"There are times when a cuddle would be nice. And having that person to bounce decisions off. Or if something good happens in your day and you want to share it or you want someone to grab bread on the way home."

What she wants other people to know about being single: "It's not for everyone, but for me it's an absolute gift. A gift of time to spend raising my son, enjoying my life with my growth at the centre. I look at the relationships around me and there's none I particularly envy or wish I had. I feel a peace I haven't ever felt in a relationship."

Are you single by choice? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.