Mastering the Art of Aloneness on Huffington Post

Woman with a cup of teaMore people are living as singles today than ever before. In the United States, there are 95.7 million single adults -- a number that represents 43 percent of all U.S. adults. Why? Not only are people marrying later, but given high divorce rates and that women outlive men by an average of seven years, it's likely that a married adult will again be single at some point in his or her life. Despite these numbers, attitudes have changed remarkably little. There's still a mindset that if you're single, there must be something wrong with you. Many people believe that marriage is the ideal lifestyle and we're barraged by messages reinforcing this notion. Movies and music tell the same story: Without love, we have nothing. It's difficult to even imagine a movie that ends with the hero living joyfully alone instead of happily-ever-after with a mate. The classic line in the film, Jerry Maguire--"You complete me" -- reinforces what many singles believe: If I could only find my soul mate, I'd be happy.

Opposites attract for the same reason that relationships fall apart. Most relationships are driven by an unconscious need to recreate or compensate for childhood experiences. Take the example of a man who grows up in a family where he's never allowed to express joy or excitement; he'll be looking for someone else to bring those expressions into his life. Or a woman who never feels safe or secure on her own... Click here to read more.