Married or single: Do you still believe in love?

Did you know there are 128 million single adults in the USA today? That’s roughly one half of all American adults! As a psychologist, this topic has always fascinated me. Why do we choose to remain single or get married at any age? One thing is certain. The factors surrounding that choice have changed dramatically in the past 70 years in this country.

My parent’s wedding photo from 1951 in Kansas

I’m fairly certain my mother felt she had no real choice when she married my father at age 19 in 1951. Nothing in her world encouraged her to consider college or a career. Every woman she saw around her was married or getting married at a very early age, and safe effective birth control was not available. Single career women were quite rare.

Oh how things have changed! When the man I loved asked me to marry him at age 22 I said no. I said if I was to marry anyone it would be him, but I was far to young to even consider it. In fact I did not marry for the first time until I was 39, and even then for the wrong reasons.

Yesterday I sat down and counted up exactly how many years of my life I have spent single and married. Guess what? It was exactly 24 years of each, and Mike was the same! I enjoyed being single most of my early years, and my marriage at age 39 was no wedded bliss. In fact it was very hard on both of us, and ended seven years later in divorce.

I also resented the negative press single people got in this country back then. In fact I wrote an essay about that years later. It was in my first book. It was called, “I said I’m divorced, not contagious.” Historically, divorce was not something that was done in my family. My brother and I were the first to do it, so in my first book I thanked my parents for giving me a solid sense of independence and self-esteem so I could leave my mistakes behind and move on with my life as a stronger, more resilient single person.

After the divorce, at age 49, I spent a few years considering my options. Did I want to remain single forever? I studied the situation in depth and decided one of my fondest dreams in life was to believe in love just once and have it be a good thing. In fact, after I lost my job/career in 2004 I started my own dating service which I named “Intriguing Possibilities” an offline way to meet local older singles. In a rather convoluted way, that is how I met Mike, the love of my life and my present husband. We’ve been together for 17 years now and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I felt so good about it I wrote the book “How to Believe in Love Again” tracing my own process through numerous heartbreaks to genuine love trust and loyalty.

My point is simple. You choose and then stick to it, or change your mind later when you finally meet the best person for you to spend your life with. And you will know when it is right, especially if you are older and wiser. You will know who to trust no matter how many times you’ve chosen Mr. Wrong.

In an interesting coincidence, right before I met Mike I won this frig magnet in a white elephant exchange:

I rest my case!

6 thoughts on “Married or single: Do you still believe in love?

  1. I’m finding I’m in the minority in today’s world. I married just after I turned 20 and had my first baby 9 months and 11 days later. It was all I ever wanted to do–get married. Have a large family. Of course I wanted to write. I always wanted to write. But I planned right from the beginning of college that I would be a stay-at-home free-lance writer while I raised my kids. I got lucky! I love my life!


  2. You are so lucky in life Diane! How many people can say what you just said there? Eyes on the prize! I had so much ambivalence when I was young about marriage, family and my career. I have always been a changer and I had to live with that.


  3. My mother married (her first and only marriage) a divorced man. Horrors! (this was in 1951, too). I never knew about that when I was growing up. My mother would talk about a neighbor woman who was divorced and she made it quite clear that this neighbor woman was not a moral woman because she was divorced. So, it wasn’t until close to adulthood that I started to think “hey, wait a minute” because, approaching adulthood, I had found out that my Dad was married before. But I never found out the details. Yes, it was that shameful. I went to school with two women whose first two marriages didn’t end well. For both of them, the third time was the charm and one of them never married her Mr. Right. He passed away almost two weeks ago. Thank heavens that kind of thinking is long over. We hope.


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