What on Earth is a Singler?

by Sarah on May 7, 2013

Harri on BoracayAs used on this site, a singler (noun) is someone who chooses to not participate in conventional monogamous relationships and whose intention is to live their life without a life partner.

I chose to create a new word for a few different reasons:

1. The words we have don’t work.

Let’s take the most common word that many of us use to refer to ourselves: single.

On the surface, it works. But there are a few problems.

First, single is often defined as someone who is not part of a couple. In other words, we are defined by a lack – a lack which many people view as a deficiency.

Second, there are many kinds of singles and many reasons why people are single. Divorcees, widows, children… to name a few. There are people who are single and don’t want to be, and people who choose to be single. Rather than having to share the word and qualify each time, it seemed easier to invent a new word, one which only encompassed the single-by-choice.

Third, if you’ve ever attended a “singles” event or group or trip, you’ve probably noticed that single often means “someone who is searching for a partner.” In fact, I think many people believe this is implied.

If you’ve ever told someone you were single and received a sympathetic “awww” in response… or condolences…or offers to set you up with blind dates… well, then you know what I mean.

The other vocabulary choice was “singleton” – a word which has been widely used in the literature. This, too, wasn’t working for me. Ignoring the wide array of (rather disgusting) definitions on Urban Dictionary, singleton still doesn’t sound like something I would want to be. It has an air of something that is leftover or doesn’t fit with the other non-singletons. To me, it sounds like it would be more fitting as a term for that annoying last sock in the laundry that is missing its mate.

2. We deserve a sense of identity.

What I would like to convey is that a singler is not just a sad person who never met the right mate. People who are intentionally living singly are making a choice – a very strong and often not very socially acceptable choice – and while they may never be singles advocates or at all involved with “the cause”, they are intentional about the choice they are making. The reasons may vary, but something singlers all have in common is at least one good reason.

Let me reiterate in case that wasn’t clear. Singlers have reasons for being single. Not excuses. Not character flaws. Reasons.

Singlers believe that being single is not something to be ashamed of, that there is more to life than finding a partner, and that it is possible to be whole, happy and fulfilled without a life partner… in fact, it may even be preferable for some people. (It certainly is for singlers.)

3. Single is not something you are. It’s something you do.

Yes, we are all born single, making it a default state of sorts. But people who are choosing to live singly are anything but settling for the default. In a culture so highly focused on marrying, or at least coupling, people who choose to live intentionally as singles are going against mainstream public opinion. Really, if viewed through the lens of cultural perspective, marriage seems more like the default or assumed option.

I chose singler because it sounds like an active word. A runner is someone who runs. A reader is someone who reads. A singler is someone who does single. Unapologetically.

Singlers are not people who can’t find dates, banging on the locked gates of marital bliss begging to get in.

We live singly as an active and intentional choice.

4. Singlers need to get together.

Okay, not like that.

I promise this is the one safe space in world where nobody is going to try to force you into any kind of situation you’re not interested in. Everyone gets to make their own choices about what works for them in their lives.

In my life, I want and need more singlers. Not just single people, but people who see themselves similarly to the way I view myself. People with similar values and dreams. And people who can understand the challenges of living single in a couples world.

My ultimately goal for this site is to build a community. While people who choose to remain single come in many sizes and shapes, with different interests, philosophies, and life goals, I’m hoping that our commonality as singlers will give us a jumping off point for creating meaningful community, both online and in our local areas.

I also hope that our visibility to make it easier for other future-singlers, including those who may not yet even realize that living singly is a valid life choice.

I want non-singlers to recognize us as whole, happy, and valuable contributors to society.

And I want us never again to feel like choosing not to have a partner means choosing to be alone.


Are you a singler? Leave a message in the comments and let us know!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah May 9, 2013 at 2:00 am

Thanks, Joel! I appreciate the recognition, and I’m glad I’ve helped you with your sock problem. Thanks for being my very first comment. You rock, even though you’re not a singler. 😉

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Joel Zaslofsky May 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I think it’s awesome that our culture is starting to come to terms with the fact that not everyone wants to be part of a couple. But we still have a looong way to go.
It’s great to see you helping not just other singlers out there, but people who aren’t singlers (like me) understand the reasons why you’ve chosen the path you have. As a non-singler, I *do* recognize you as whole, happy, and a valuable contributor to society.
P.S. I now know what to call that lone sock coming out of the dryer without its twin. Woot!

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