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a question about human nature - serious answers please...
having a drink with a lad i've not seen in 10 years, the subject came to relationships - i said that i wasn't currently in one by choice. he (with his psychology degree) said that it was nonsense and that i was just scared of being hurt.

of course, i rebuffed by illustrating that in any relationship people get hurt - platonic friendships, boss/employee; and that these can sometimes be more hurtful than a sexual relationship.

is that really the case? or is it that i like my time, my space, my mess WAY too much to get involved with someone and have to share all that (again)? is it just pure selfishness? it's not that i have been without attention, after all.

the question i need an answer to is: of those that say they are single by choice, what percentage would you estimate is lying? and what would they be lying about?
Supplement from 01/15/2008 11:21pm:
ok, for those that do not like to estimate the liars of the single population of the uk/world... what percentage of the single people *you know* have indicated/demonstrated/accidental ly let slip through thought, word or deed, that their reasons for being single are not 100% truthful?

asked in human nature, relationships, psychology

Hiheels answers:

I might have to skip over the estimation of a percentage, but one of the reasons for a lie if there is one is that it's seen by some (much of society to go for a sweeping statement) as "sad" (in the modern useage of that term) to be single.
Someone may need to feel they need to cover up the fact that, for example, no-one has asked them out or that they haven't met anyone or stayed with anyone because it will be thought that there is something "wrong" with them or that they're just not a very nice person.

Supplement from 01/15/2008 11:28pm:

I see your supplement and raise you mine.

One out of three.

Could this be, though, the same statistic as those kidding themselves they are happy just because they happen to share their life with someone?

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hdtg answers:

Very few lie well to themselves regarding their own state of happiness.

When a relationship ends it is a good thing to take some time out, it is not a legal requirement to be one half of a pair. And entirely possible to enjoy being single.

I would say most do not lie about being single by choice as it gives a clear message of being unavailable. If people lie in this regard it is beyond me to see what is gained.

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P-Kasso answers:

What an extremely large question!

I am certain that just as there are people who shun relationships as a form of self-presevation from harm there are many who justifiably see relationships as being cramping and have a natural wish to grow without the constraints of forever having to consider someone else.

In a way it is rather like going on holiday on your own. You don't have to keep asking for agreement or making mutual plans which can be a compromise.

Yes, I'd say it is probably at heart a very selfish view point but not selfish in the negative sense.

I have a friend who is now 42 and when asked (as she often is) "why didn't you get married?" simply replies "I forgot".

She is independent but not defiantly or anti-socially so. She is successful and satisfied. She has warm and enduring friendships but cannot really see what more an exclusive relationship could add to her life.

I should think though (to eventually answer your question) that the percentage who are single by choice is quite small because so many other factors need to present for it to work really well.

Personally, I have spent a year or so in the past without any relationship (still interacted with friends and family of course) and got totally fed up with it and decided to go out and let whatever happened happen.

That is really no different from going out and deciding to be celibate (for want of a better word) and letting that turn out how it turns out.

Either way it is your choice and that is too rewarding to be branded 'selfish'. I have never understood what is wrong with being selfish if it does not harm others.

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jacquesdor answers:

Many people do lie about their reasons. Some are covering up their feelings of rejection because it always sounds better to say 'I choose this ' than nobody wants me.
Some lie because if they have had more than one failed relationship the fear of more failure prevents them trying again - as before calling it a choice hides that fear.
Some do actually choose to be single, for their own reasons. Some do prefer the single life, some have become somewhat selfish after a long time not having to consider another.Some have discovered a freedom in the single state and want to keep their independence.
Everyone has their own reason. I don't know if people in this situation actually lie to themselves, if they do it is hard to think they believe their own lies.
I guess that , deep down, many singles 'by choice' are really longing to be one of a couple. When the circumstances are right then that state is likely to occur.
I do accept, however, that very many singles 'by choice' are just that. They have discovered that the single condition is the one that suits them, they are the fortunate ones who need no 'other' to complete them.

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her_nextdoor answers:

I think the answer lies in the question, as so often happens. Not wanting to be over-simplistic but it is all about choices. If the alternative does not meet the level of expectation then the choice becomes simpler. It may well be that some people are 'happy' being on their own which could be as a result of previous encounters of a disappointing kind or it may well be that some do not wish to compromise. With any relationship you have to be prepared to make concessions but once those concessions become greater than the satisfaction that you receive, then it's time to move on. There are those, I imagine, that also get used to their own company, doing things the way that they want and free to make choices without prior consultation; in those cases the grass must seem greener on their side of the fence? Some may hide behind the facade of being 'happy'with their lot but if something better comes along then they could consider change. I would consider it to be a matter of weighing up the pros and cons and it don't believe it's a one size fits all type of question.

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xoloriib answers:

Life is much easier when all you have to be concerned about is yourself. People feel stress for many reasons and today we are under more stress than at any other time in history. It's not surpriding that there's so much divorce and other marital problems. People today are much more in need of their own personal times. One of the things that makes things worse is the overanalysis of relationships. Don't feel guilty about the so-called selfishness. It could be better all round if you don't get into a bad relationship just because of peer pressure.
People lie to themselves about many things, it's how they get through life's difficulties and everyday situations. How much of a relationship they lie about is hard to say but I think it's a choice that everybody is entitled to make. So I'd estimate 90 - 100% lie about some part of their relationship. Probably as much as 10% lie about a significant part of it.

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Theminxy1 answers:

Whilst I would agree that some people who claim they are happy not to be in a relationship are in fact hiding from the possibility of being hurt, or afraid that people will think there is 'something wrong with them' because they can't find a partner, many prefer their life that way.

It makes you wonder why we find it so difficult to believe that people can be perfectly happy not having to consider a significant other in the major decisions of their life.

Some peoples lives are so full and fulfilling that they don't have room for a relationship. Not being in a relationship doesn't mean you're not having sex, or that you aren't sharing good and meaningful times with friends, just that you prefer to do so as a single person.

Not everyone is insecure about who and what they are. To many people are led by societies trends. I would guess that the percentage of people who lie about their happiness at being unattached is probably around fifty percent.

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sheps101 answers:

I am not sure I believe anyone really is single by choice as such, as I believe no one would turn down the perfect relationship if it came along. So in a sense I believe everyone is lieing as you put it or at least saying they are single because they have not found the right person that ticks all the right boxes at the right time in their life.

The issue with someone been at a point in life where they feel ready to be in relationship, may keep them single by choice, to some extent, but human instincts are stronger than most realise so I find it hard to believe they would still run from Mr or Mrs perfect because after all if they were perfect there is nothing to run from because the whole relationship would develop so naturally.

All in all if it is meant to be it will be, but no one can tell when it will be. Better to live happily single though than play a waiting game.

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CGA answers:

I am not sure that many are actually lying when they say they want to be single - it is just their assessment of the balance of compromises and benefits at that moment in time. This can, of course, change at new factors come into play.
There are some general factors :-
- Freedom do do as you want, Lack of compromises etc.
- Someone to share good times and bad situations with.

If those two are in balance then, once you throw new factors in, then the balance can change in a way that we cannot predict. These can be things such as :- Bad previous relationship experiences or a strong emotional / mental attachment to somebody .

I know somebody, who has always been single, who would value a relationship but, at the same time, recognises that she is now probably too set in her ways to make the necessary compromises. So she get on with her single life and is happy with it. Is that lying or just being realistic.

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suehayes answers:

I'm incredulous that some members still hold the very old fashioned perception that being single isn't the norm in this decade. It's certainly the norm in the North East of England. Most females within my social circle are single & not because they choose to be:
6 - single
2 - married (sadly, not so happily)
1 - currently in first stages of a relationship
Those are only my close family & friends.

Of all the women I have known, I'm the most consistently single & the happiest within this state. Simply because you can't pluck a relationship out of thin air! For me, if I'm not happy within my own life, how on earth will someone else be happy being a part of it with me? A relationship isn't the cure all, to all woes!

I have never been ashamed to say that I'm single. I'd be ashamed to say that I was a part of an unhealthy relationship, for the simple reason that I didn't wish to be alone.

I've shouted from the roof tops, when I was in healthy loving relationships.

Wanting to be alone can be a very natural process & one that is needed to ensure that most of us can cope with ourselves & others when we are a partnership. Wanting too much solitude or pining for a partner is never a healthy state of mind.

In answer to your question: 0% of my friends profess to being happy single...they all wish to be in relationships.

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