So do women really want to be single?

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Ren�e Zellweger as Bridget Jones.

A survey claims that women far more women than men are happy to be singlet. Two writers look at their marriages and wonder if that’s true.

Sandra Parsons

For the past few days I’ve been wallowing in a blissful world without men. My husband and son have gone away for the week, so I’ve been left home alone.

What’s notable is the peace and harmony.

Men speak loudly, move heavily, colonise entire rooms, avoid anything to do with washing clothes or dishes, can think of no finer dinner than a takeaway pizza and have no concept of sharing the remote control.

In stereotypical contrast, women speak softly and tread lightly. We compromise without even thinking about it. Absent is the usual discord over what to watch on TV, what to have for supper or who should clear up afterwards.

Copy of st wedding rings (23215436)

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Is it any wonder, then, that a new survey should reveal that far more women than men are happy to be single?

The Bridget Jones generation, unhappy in love and desperate to find a man, is, it seems, so last century.

More than half the women questioned in the survey said they enjoyed being single. Less than a third said they disliked being alone – compared to 70 percent of men.

As the old cigarette ads used to tell us: “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

We’ve fought hard for our careers and financial independence, so why shouldn’t we enjoy the fruits of our success?

And the truth is, we are better at being on our own than men. Not only do we tend to have more friends, but they are usually more supportive.

We don’t expect anyone to wash and cook for us. A modern man can relish the fact that he no longer needs to get married to have sex – but he hates the idea of looking after himself.

The trouble is that, deep down, the majority of single women yearn for the companionship and love of a significant other. Even the most wonderful, thoughtful, caring friends can’t always be there for you. What we all long for most is unconditional love.

There are plenty of couples who have found that they’re far lonelier within the confines of a loveless marriage than a single person could ever be. That doesn’t mean, though, that we should stop trying to achieve it.

Despite the fact I’ve been revelling in my single state, the truth is I’m enjoying my respite from my husband only because I know he’ll be home at the end of the week.

Marriage is a risky, messy business that comes without guarantees.

A successful career can feed our self-esteem, win us admiration and provide us with the money to pamper ourselves. But it won’t warm our souls. For that, we need love. – Daily Mail

Shelley Bridgeman

Marriage is a funny thing. I’ve spent the past 19 years married to my “first husband”.

I adopted this term of endearment a few years ago after encountering one too many women referring to their first husband, second husband and even their third husband.

I was envious. Why should only serial brides get to number their husbands as if they were books in the Famous Five series ? It just wasn’t fair. So Kevin became my “first husband” and I’ve confused many people when introducing him to others. The natural reaction is to assume I have a second husband. “Not yet. Still looking,” I say. Har-de-har.

There’s a lack of sentimentality to our relationship that would probably not suit a lot of people. He’ll never write me a love poem, I’ll never bake him a heart-shaped cake and we’re certainly not the sort to renew our vows every year as did Heidi Klum and Seal.

I must confess to finding such effusive and public displays of affection suspicious. Why the need to ritualistically proclaim undying love for each other? Do they protest too much? Judging by the recent announcement of their split, it would seem so.

Our marriage just seems to quietly work and I’ve never been inclined to try to figure out exactly why it does. I think sheer luck plays a part and I think the other things that make it successful are elusive, perhaps not easily expressed. Sometimes I superstitiously wonder if it would be tempting fate to try to identify the ingredients.

When we first got married, I felt we ought to keep actively choosing to remain together on an ongoing basis. I feared that in failing to undergo regular assessments we could end up decades later joined only by dull habit a rather than genuine feeling for each other.

Yet from the time my friend introduced us, Kevin and I have never looked back. I moved in with him “just until I found a flat of my own”. Twenty-one years and one daughter later, he still occasionally asks when exactly I’m going to find myself that flat.

“Give me time, first husband, give me time,” I reply. – New Zealand Herald

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