Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, December 09, 2021

As I edge toward 40 with a wholly marriage-free history behind me, I can take solace in the clinical research that labels me as emotionally/mentally better equipped than those who’ve tied (and untied) the knot:

Among [psychology researcher Jamila Bookwala's] findings are that never-married adults, overall, do report lower levels of overall emotional well-being than their married counterparts in the same age group. But they are comparable when it comes to psychological resources, the stuff that helps humans deal with life challenges.

Bookwala looked at three measures of psychological resources, including personal mastery (the degree people think they have control over things in life, which is important to avoid depression), agency (the tendency to focus on oneself, which is good for mental health) and self-sufficiency (a sense of autonomy, which is also linked with better mental health).

The never-married participants do tend to have fewer social resources, she said. “In general they tend to report less [perceived] support from families than marrieds.”

But the higher the never-married individuals scored on those psychological resources, the better their emotional well-being, she found. Better, even, than the married folks, if they scored high on those measures.

“In that sense, we find our study debunks that myth of something being wrong with the never-married individual,” Bookwala said.

I’ll need said solace, since the societal perception will still be, simply put: Freak.

But I’ll embrace my station in life. And in celebration of this validation of unbroken singlehood, I’ll coin a snappy label for those of us who’ve dodged the marriage bullet: “Neverweds”. Just evocative enough of “newlyweds” to suggest ironic wordplay.

I’m sure some accept neverwed status more readily than others. If the enshrinement of the term drives some to walk down the aisle just to escape it, so be it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/09/2021 10:14 PM
Category: Society, Wordsmithing
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