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Will it be socially acceptable for me to never get married?

I'm in my early 20s and I never want to get married... do-able?
In the next 10-20 years, do you think our society will fully accept the fact that some people NEVER want to settle down and get married?

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    Jul 6 2013: Lisa, Where do you live in the world? I'm in the UK. I'm in my 40's and unmarried (not in a relationship), by choice. I'm happy and content, and do not feel that society is judging me. In the UK the number of people remaining single is on the rise. I can only speculate why this is, but I feel it's a result of fractured marriages - divorce - unhappy home lives. If a child grows up in an unhappy home they are unlikely to want to risk experiencing the same for themselves. In the UK there is no parental pressure to get married like there is in some cultures. Without this pressure many people, like myself, simply choose not to marry. Although I'm single I live a very full and productive life, have many friends and contribute to my community. The world is so overcrowded, I certainly don't feel bad about not having children. Indeed, it's the best gift I can give to future generations.
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    Jul 5 2013: I am 65 and have never married. Its not natural. Organized religion created marriage to control people. One person thinks more clearly and with more common sense than a married couple. Some people can't make it alone so marriage would be good for them.
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      Jul 5 2013: in fact it is natural. many animals form pairs, and never leave each other.
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        Jul 5 2013: Krisztian,
        Don't you think that "natural" is a very ambiguous term? People can refer to very different things when they say that something is "natural":

        1. That it occurs in nature (the meaning you seem to use). Watch this http://www.ted.com/talks/kees_moeliker_how_a_dead_duck_changed_my_life.html and tell me if homosexual necrophilia is natural.

        2. Something from everyday experience. E.g. "it's natural that the sun goes up every morning". But if you live close to one of the poles, that would not be what you see every day.

        3. Aesthetically pleasing. E.g. I know people who are content with female homosexuality because it is "more natural" than male homosexuality. This seems to be based purely on aesthetics and feeling of disgust.

        4. Ethical considerations (as in "it's unnatural for humans to kill each other")

        5. Customary or traditional (see "every day experience")

        I, usually, skip statements "it is natural" and "it is unnatural" as meaningless. They lead only to unnecessary arguments without substance.
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          Jul 5 2013: i agree. i used to link a picture mocking that term. too lazy to find now. i just wanted to show how useless the "natural" argument is.
  • Jul 6 2013: It's already all right.
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    Jul 6 2013: Where does the idea that its socially unacceptable not to marry come from?
    Let's look at the numbers.
    Single Life
    Source for statements: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2010
    Tables A1 and A2

    99.6 million
    Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2010. This group comprised 43.6 percent of all U.S. residents 18 and older.

    53.1%
    Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older who were women.

    61%
    Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older who had never been married. Another 23.8 percent were divorced, and 14.4 percent were widowed.

    16.4 million
    Number of unmarried U.S. residents 65 and older. The elderly comprised 16.5 percent of all unmarried and single people 18 and older.

    88
    Number of unmarried men 18 and older for every 100 unmarried women in the United States.

    59.1 million
    Number of households maintained by unmarried men or women. These households comprised 45 percent of households nationwide.

    31.4 million
    Number of people who lived alone. They comprised 27 percent of all households, up from 17 percent in 1970.


    “National Singles Week” was started by the Buckeye Singles Council in Ohio in the 1980s to celebrate single life and recognize singles and their contributions to society. The week is now widely observed during the third full week of September (Sept. 18-24 in 2011) as “Unmarried and Single Americans Week,” an acknowledgment that many unmarried Americans do not identify with the word “single” because they are parents, have partners or are widowed. In this edition of Facts for Features, unmarried people include those who were never married, widowed, or divorced, unless otherwise noted.
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    Jul 5 2013: Why do you ask this question?

    I have noticed some pressure from society, especially on women, to get married and have kids. There is a stereotypical view of "happiness" as having a family, children, etc. By this stereotype, people pity unmarried childless women in their late thirties as "unfortunate". Often, this pity comes from people unhappy in their marriage. Perhaps, it's nothing more than a stereotype.

    People have all kinds of views on this issue. I, personally, think, the whole point of life is to perpetuate itself. From this point of view, perhaps, sex and marriage will always be on people's todo list. It does not mean that you have to have family and kids, but it does mean that if you don't your genetic line will terminate with you - nothing more, nothing less.

    There is also a consideration of having emotional and physical support from a partner and children when you are old.
  • Jul 5 2013: It seems to me to be perfectly acceptable to never get married. We are not in the dark ages anymore. That being said, i'm sure where you live will effect how accepting the community will be.
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    Jul 16 2013: Whether it's "socially acceptable" can hardly be discussed, since you haven't told us which society you live in. I see that you've been asked that by some commenters.

    As for most of the U.S. there's no stigma attached to being unmarried. It's a very popular state. You will probably find that some acquaintances, once they marry, will choose to socialize with married couples rather than with singles, but (from my own experience) I think that's partly because they think the (wild) singles prefer to hang out together, and partly because they gradually have more and more in common with other young married couples. I don't think this common phenomenon represents a rejection of the single person, though it may feel that way. Just be prepared for it.
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    Jul 7 2013: Even if society try to press people to get married, it seemd better to ask yourself first. The pressure in nowadays isn`t so hight as 20 years ago, situation has changed so people start to think in long term relationship rather then about formal marriage. It seems better to try ourselves before make a decision. Also it is possible postpone the decision to about 35 age, why not, so be more experienced and focused on things really worth to realize.
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    Jul 7 2013: Definitely. I know a lot of people who feel the same way as you. And don't forget, not that long ago gay marriage was forbidden and now 13 US states allow it. Interracial marriages began in the 60's. I'm sure society will continue to change and the pressure of settling down will no longer exist.
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    Jul 6 2013: Lisa, Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is in some manner judgmental. Most really do not mean to be cruel. Often those are the ones who hurt us the most. The mom and dad who ask when are we going to have grandkids ... so how is your love life .... there is this really great guy at work ... and so on.

    The question is .... you seem to care what others think of your decision ... why?

    Humans (most) are sociable ... we like to be liked ... we surround ourselves with those who have like tastes, wants, needs, etc ... Your friends will support and understand your decisions ... those who do not may have not been your friend after all.

    One of the most important things I can suggest is ... that you know who you are .... and become happy with that person. If you do this then all the rest will fall into place.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Jul 6 2013: Do-able. If you wish you still can have a partner, raise children, have a home or simply spend your life traveling and never settling down. For any of this you do not need to marry.
    I doubt if society will fully accept it - and its because society is comprised of more people who have not thought like you. But I also feel that society will not actively resist it either.
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    Jul 5 2013: What do you mean by "marry"?

    - Committing to one sexual partner and taking mutual responsibility for raising kids?
    - Registering relationship with the local government?
    - Having a religious wedding ceremony?
    - Anything else?
  • Jul 5 2013: Sure....why not?

    There have always been people who decide not to marry.
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    Jul 5 2013: I'm agree with you. i'm pretty young, 18 years old but i think like you despite the fact that all the world that ask you says that you are pretty young and in the futur that probably change, when we were kids , here in Colombia, the picture that some people puts in ours minds is when we grows up we'll have a car, house, a couple, children and maybe a pet. In this days in the school we've had to make a essay about climate change, one of the main problems is the overpopulation, more people, more food, energy, resources, etc. like happens with cars, the world don't need more people and more cars. Yes, our society dont like that but you dont have to be part of the flock and follow all the "rules", that in some cases are wrongs. If it that your decision is respectable. And if you want you can adopt a kid or a cat :3 (Sorry for my english and redaction)
  • Jul 5 2013: Marriage is a stupid label that the government grants advantages to those who partake. The only people that may outcast you for not marrying are religious folks. I believe culture is changing and marriage is going to slowly decline.
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    Jul 5 2013: It will be socially unacceptable for you to get married against your will.
    • Jul 5 2013: Yes of course. At this stage and point in my life, I can either make some effort toward marriage but I think I would much prefer to not make any effort toward finding a stable relationship that might lead to marriage. I just don't know if I will be outcasted in the future when everyone around me is married... i don't want to be left out of society but I just don't think marriage and kids are what I want in life....
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        Jul 5 2013: Welcome to the modern world. Be yourself and it will accommodate you no matter what lifestyle you choose. As far as i know the only forbidden social behavior is intolerance. ANYTHING goes!
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    Jul 5 2013: do you mean never marry and also never have children? Having children seems like a real satisfying part of life that you might be sorry to miss. Technically you don't have to marry to have children, but it seems like it might give the children a greater sense of stability if their parents were married.
    • Jul 5 2013: No I will most likely not have children (regardless of marriage)
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        Jul 5 2013: why don't you want to marry, so you can travel and such. It's possible one could find a way to do both.
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    Jul 5 2013: considering recent trends in japan, you might be just ahead of the curve
    • Jul 5 2013: What trends Krisztian?
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        Jul 5 2013: as i have read in half-reliable sources, an increasing number of people in japan are single, and they don't plan to change it. they are hanging out with their friends instead, and preferring that setting to a relationship.
  • Jul 5 2013: It's not unusual now.
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    Jul 5 2013: Will it be good enough for you if those you respect most accept your personal choices? I expect that choosing to remain single will be increasingly well accepted, particularly if you have a career or commitment of mind and heart to which you give great attention.

    Here are some trends on this in the US: http://www.prb.org/Articles/2010/usmarriagedecline.aspx

    One interesting aspect of these data is that it used to be that more educated people were more likely than less educated people to choose not to marry. The trend seems to have shifted in the last decade, with the greatest decline in propensity to marry being among those with fewer years of education.

    So the question about what society accepts may be too broad. Trends in this area may depend not just on your location but other subcategories of society.