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On Your Own

Singles Who Want to Be Part of a Couple

October 20, 1986|HOWARD HALPERN

Some single people are ashamed if they have any feelings of unhappiness about being single. They say that there has been a lot of pressure on them to feel that they should be just as happy being single as they are being part of a couple.

This was eloquently stated in a letter from a 39-year-old woman who has been divorced for five years after a 10-year marriage: "You sometimes print letters from your readers about how happy they are to be single and about the freedom and advantages of not being half of a couple. Well, great for them, but I hate being single. I am often miserable, depressed and lonely. I used to pretend otherwise, but I don't want to pretend anymore.

"For a while being single was adventurous. I discovered I could survive alone and travel by myself. I did lots of things with friends and found that I could handle different dating situations. And there's no question that I've grown in self-confidence and maturity because of it. But enough is enough.

"I'm annoyed when I read magazines and books that make you feel that if you don't like being single you're too needy and dependent. Sometimes your column does this. Some of your readers write that they don't need a relationship to be happy. Well, that's not me. How can I be happy when I don't have what I want more than anything--a loving partner? Isn't it OK for me to want that?"

I regret that this column has made anyone feel that something is wrong if they are not delighted about being single. I have often tried to counteract the feelings of failure some people have if they are not part of a couple. I have pointed out the irrationality of being ashamed of their single status, and in many columns have indicated that being single is no reflection on a person's adequacy or worth.

I have also written about many things single people can do to make their lives full, interesting and exciting. And certainly, I have quoted letters from people who prefer being single because it meets their needs.

I have also expressed concern for people who feel they can have no happiness or fulfillment in their lives unless they are part of a couple. When someone feels that they are nobody or that life is not worth living or find it hard to face another day because they are not involved with someone, this is a serious matter based on underrating themselves and what life has to offer.

But a large number of my single readers are neither happy nor desperately depressed about being unattached. Many would rather have a close, caring and lasting romantic involvement, but they do not feel it is the end of the world if they lack one. The absence of such a relationship stop does not stop them from enjoying life. Nevertheless, they admit that not having a good love relationship sometimes causes them to feel lonely and dissatisfied.

Questions about the singles life may be addressed to On Your Own, New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 130 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10011.

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