Portland Relationship Counselor: Why Are So Many Americans Single?

June 5, 2012 by

Portland Relationship Counselor: Why Are So Many Americans Single?

As a Portland relationship counselor, I am interested in understanding more about the recent increase in solitude in America. There are eight times as many people living alone today as there were in 1950 – almost a third of households have just a single resident. And over 50% of U.S. residents are single. But I wanted to understand why this was the case, because I believe it can shed light on some of the relationship issues that many couples suffer from today.

Portland Relationship Counselor: What Caused the Increase in Solitude?

There is no single answer to the increase in solitary living in the U.S.  Instead, there are likely four main reasons.

Women’s Greater Sense of Independence – Today there is less societal pressure for women to marry, stay at home, and raise kids. As a result, many women choose to focus on their careers, and they have the ability to divorce when they’re unhappy.

Urban Culture – Cities make life easier for singles, providing greater opportunity for socializing and increased convenience, such as coffee shops, food delivery, and even laundromats. It allows for greater autonomy.

Technological Advances – The improved ability to communicate – starting with the telephone and continuing with social networks and video conferences – makes it easier for people to feel connected to one another, even if they’re at home alone. (And as a Portland relationship counselor, I also know that it creates new challenges for couples!)

Medical Advances – As a society, we’re living longer, and often this means that one spouse passes away before the other. 62% of widows and widowers live alone.

But it may be even more complicated than that. Our culture has taught people to focus on their own needs, live by their own rules, and build the world they want. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg calls this “the cult of the individual,” and he believes it may be the closest thing American culture has to a common ideal.

I believe this attitude often gets in the way of people finding a partner. It’s wonderful that modern society makes it easier for us to be flexible and autonomous. It allows us to take more time in finding the right mate, but some people may have unrealistic expectations for relationships. What they consider a desire not to “settle” may actually be a desire not to compromise!

If you are single and struggling to find love, you may find help by talking to a Portland relationship counselor. Learning relationship and communication skills can help you better connect with others and prevent relationship issues.