45% of women. Yup, you read that right.
It’s estimated that 45% of women ages 25–44 will be single by 2030, according to a new study by Morgan Stanley.
With the modern dating market, nearly half of women in their “childbearing” years will be without a male counterpart.
There are a few reasons for this prediction.
One, women aren’t getting married young anymore. We have so many other options for what to do with our lives that getting married is no longer the “default” option. We’re focusing on our careers, going to grad school, traveling, our friends and extended social circles, and taking our time to find the right guy.
Two, we aren’t having babies like we used to. With more options for birth control than ever before and (somewhat reliable) treatments for infertility, the pressure to have kids within a certain timeframe just isn’t there anymore.
And with that pressure gone, so is the urgency to get married for the sake of starting a family.
So, many women are single — that is, unmarried — and will remain this way for the foreseeable future.
We are told that to be a single women is to be “empowered.”
If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard —
“She’s a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.”
She can take care of everything herself. She makes her own money, drives her own car, and pays her own rent.
(You know, basic things that any functioning adult should be able to do. But I digress.)
She can do it all — in her own little world of man-free bliss.
And without a man, she doesn’t have to deal with his implicit misogyny. She doesn’t have to cook, clean, or care for an overgrown man-child.
She doesn’t have to compromise or have anyone complain about what she wears or the pictures she posts online.
She can have as many girl’s trips and hot girl summers as her heart desires.
Ah, the blissfulness of single life.
But, if a man is single, he’s lonely.
Because you know, he’s clearly miserable and sexless not by choice.
There’s even a Reddit term for it:
Incel (n): a man who is “involuntarily celibate”
The idea here is that all men would want a girlfriend (or at least a female partner) if they could have one.
The never-ending rhetoric is that married men are happier, live longer, and benefit tremendously from having a live-in maid…er, I mean, wife.
Young people are socially conditioned to believe that single men are one of two things:
(1) Super attractive top 20-percenters who don’t need to settle down with one woman to have plentiful sex, attention, and admiration from women.
(2) Everyone else. Average-to-unimpressive men who don’t know how to talk to women and couldn’t get a date even if they tried.
Are those really the only two options?
Double standards…double standards
This is nothing new.
There are probably some women and men who fall into these categories, but it’s ridiculous to pretend that this is everyone.
Most of the single women I know don’t feel particularly “empowered” in their singleness. In fact, most of them are actively dating and looking for Mr. Right.
Most single men I know aren’t lonely or wondering when a woman will finally look their way. They’re just going about their lives, working, going to school, traveling, participating in their hobbies, and trying to build the life they want.
Guy or girl — the healthiest attitude is somewhere in the middle.
“I’m single and empowered and don’t need anyone — especially not a cis white man” does not reflect most women.
“I’m single and lonely and I just wish that any woman would look my way so I can finally get laid” does not reflect most men.
To lump all men and women into these categories is unfair and perpetuates a stereotype that just isn’t true for most people.
And neither of these attitudes is healthy nor aspirational.
Is there a problem with 45% of women being single?
On an individual level, no.
But on a societal level — perhaps.
Trends like these are symptoms of the bigger issue: our social fabric is falling apart.
Where the nuclear family used to make up the fabric of society, the separation of sex from commitment and babies has led to a sentiment of selfishness.
Our individual happiness has become the most important thing in each of our lives.
To hell with having kids and a husband or wife. They’re only good if they make us happy and fulfilled.
And if not? Well, you’re better off without ’em.
This is the way we feel about our interpersonal relationships.
If it doesn’t make me happy, then I don’t want it.
With this attitude, no wonder the divorce rate is so high. No wonder people don’t want to get married and have children anymore. We don’t want to make sacrifices or endure unpleasant times for the sake of something greater.
This isn’t only about women choosing to be single.
It’s also about men choosing to abandon their children. It’s about children refusing to care for aging parents. It’s about parents neglecting their children.
It’s about all of us operating under a mindset where “my happiness is the most important thing in my life at all times.”
I wonder how many people who live by that philosophy truly leave this world in peace.
Modern society has driven us further away from the values and structures that truly bring fulfillment in life.
Interpersonal relationships are some of the few experiences in life that are truly meaningful to the human heart.
While not everyone is necessarily called to a romantic partnership or marriage, we should not pretend that the lack of a relationship is “empowering.”
Nor should we pretend that having a relationship is our ultimate purpose in life and without it, we are only half a person.
So will 45% of women really be single by 2030? I don’t know.
But if that is the case, it will be a symptom of the many challenges with modern dating — not something to celebrate.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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