149 - One is (Not) The Loneliest Number

This week we're talking about consciously choosing to stay single! Can staying single be just as emotionally valuable as being in a relationship? We have some surprising statistics as well as a look at how "single" can have a different meaning when you are a relationship anarchist or even if you're polyamorous.

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Jase Lindgren: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about consciously choosing to be single. We've all heard of serial monogamy and those of us in polyamorous relationships may keep ourselves poly-saturated due to a fear of being alone. But what about the people who want to stay single and who are happiest when they are single? Can staying single be just as emotionally valuable as being in a relationship? We are going to talk about that and much more on this episode today.

Emily Matlack: Well, yes. All of you out there may be wondering, "Okay, this is a relationship podcast. Why are you doing an episode on being single?"

Jase: I thought these people talked about being in like a million relationships.

Emily: Exactly.


Emily: Not just one relationship but a ton of relationships.

Jase: Right.

Emily: We talk about how to maintain healthy relationships on the show, but we also felt that it was important to point out that being single is a really valid option as well. We know of some really healthy happy people who choose to stay single for most of their lives or choose to stay single for a long period of time. We just wanted to point out that that is also a really valuable option to do in one's life and speak about that today.

Jase: Yes, I think it's also worth mentioning that, part of the challenge I guess with being single is sort of the social stigma that goes with it or the idea that our worth as a person gets tied up in whether we're in certain types of relationships; certain types of serious romantic relationships and that if we're not, we're expected to be sad about it or it's like, "What's wrong with you?" Or, "There must be something wrong with me." We see that constantly; we see it on a show like How I Met Your Mother that lasted for, how many seasons?

Emily: God, it was like seven. We watched that whole show.

Jase: The whole point of that show is that you're not complete until you're in a relationship; until you find the one. You're in that relationship.

Emily: Yes, that concept of, "The one" is thrown all over media. At work, often we have Frank Sinatra on and that song, You're Nobody Until Somebody Loves You comes on all the time and I'm like, "That's not a really good message to be sending to people."

Jase: It's really, really not.

Emily: Or like one is the loneliest number.

Jase: Yes. totally. It's one of these things that, it gets taken so for granted because that message is so universal in our in our songs, in our TV shows, our movies and everything, that we don't even think about the message that we're sending. We're sending, one; that you're nobody unless somebody loves you. The idea that the only thing that gives value to a person is being in a romantic relationship. Then the other side of that too is I feel like it's pushing people into this thing where being in a relationship is like a goal in and of itself like rather than evaluating whether a relationship actually brings value to your life, whether it's healthy for you, whether it improves your life, instead it's just, "Well, I need to be in one, period. So I'll take this kind of shitty or this just okay one, over being single because obviously, that's worse."

Emily: Totally.

Jase: Obviously that's the worst part that I think is a problem.

Emily: Yes, absolutely. You've shone into a lot of different things like social events, for example, people saying, "Where's your plus one?" Or, "What is your plus one? Who is it going to be?" Or, "Do you have a date to this thing?" Sometimes, unfortunately, you're not going to have one and that's okay. It should be okay.

Jase: Yes, if we can even be a little more technical here with things like sharing your insurance with somebody.

Emily: Yes, taxes.

Jase: Sometimes that can only be if you're married, in other places it can only be if it's like a cohabiting romantic partner. Then some it's a little more liberal and it's like maybe you still have to be living together or there's different rules there, but there is a lot of stuff built into favor traditional looking coupledom even if some of the laws and rules are changing to make that not be so exclusive to just marriage. It's still set up to favor that.

Also, just to speak about some stats for a moment, when you will look at statistics from the US Census about being single, it's important to know that being single means you're over the age of 18 and you're not married. Obviously, I think a lot of people who would not consider themselves single, would be single meaning that they're not married from the US Census even if they might be living with a partner. That's just something worth noting that a lot of these statistics haven't quite caught up to the way modern relationships actually work.

Emily: Yes, because I live with a partner, but I still I'm considered single; I still check that box and everything.

Jase: Right, on your census or on your legal documents, you're still counted as single. Or there's people who might have a partner, but choose not to live with them, for example, I've had a very long-term relationship with Dedeker now, but she and I over four years that we've been together, have lived together for maybe like eight or nine months out of that four years. I am definitely a vast minority of that time.

Then of course, there are people who choose to be single; to not have that type of cohabiting long-term romantic relationship. We're going to get a little more into that later. For those of you going, "What do you mean romance? What does that mean exactly?"

Emily: "What is romance?"

Jase: We're going to talk about that a little more later and about how looking at things as a relationship anarchist, for those who like to think that way, like I do. That really changes this whole thing. This whole question of like, what does single even mean? But either way, if people choose to be single at least in the traditional sense of it, what about those people as well?

Emily: That brings me to the reason why I wanted to do this podcast. My mother has been single for probably the last 20 years of her life at least. I know she had me very much out of wedlock, just decided to have a kid and has never been married. She's been in relationships, but she was in a long string of bad relationships when I was young, then finally decided, through talking to me like, "Hey, I don't need to try to find a father for you. Let's just stop this." Then she's been single happily ever since.

I thought, at times my biases come in and I think, "Jeez, is she really happy? How can you be happy without another person?" But it really seems and from everything that I've spoken to her about, she's like, "I live a very full life. I live a very happy life and I don't need another person validating me to make my life mean something," that I think is really amazing, cool and made me want to speak about this. Because I certainly have been with people for a very long time and feel very comfortable in romantic relationships and to be single for 20 years. I'm like, "Eek, that sounds like I would want to scratch an itch at least after that amount of time."

Jase: Yes, the other thing that's worth pointing out here is that when we say being single, it doesn't mean never going on dates. It doesn't mean never having any sexual partners or anything. In fact you're quite the opposite. Maybe for you, it is that, maybe you just don't have interest in dating or having sex and that's an awesome valid way to do things too. But this could also just mean you're not partaking in the kind of relationships that look like those more serious, long-term, committed ones that often involve living together or committing a significant portion of your time to someone or either an implicit or explicitly stated guarantee of staying together for a longer term or something like that. Once you take away just the traditional model of a romantic relationship meaning, it's one that's heading toward marriage, if you take that out it becomes a little bit more challenging to define. Like what does a serious relationship mean versus a casual relationship?

Emily: Totally.

Jase: But I think also, it can also change what it is we choose to do based on what it is we actually want in our lives. That could change over time obviously, but I think things are very different now, that if you might not want a certain type of life, or at least right now, you don't want a certain type of life that's focused primarily on a relationship, maybe because you have other things you want to focus on, or you're just not interested in that, you can do that, and it's not like, "You're an old maid after 25, and now no one's going to marry you again so you're stuck."

Emily: Yes, the stigma isn't there as much anymore, which is great.

Jase: That we have people having first or second marriages, much, much later in life now.

Emily: Yes, to me, thank goodness. I think for a variety of reasons, that can be a lot better. We'll talk about that in a little bit But, there were various articles that we looked up regarding all of these topics today and one of them is from Mike.com, and also Psychology Today, which says that, people who are single get more time to focus on their career, and also have the potential wage boost because, if they marry late, then you can get hopefully a potential wage boost in working on and worrying about your career earlier in life. These next three statistics are just on more married couple.

Jase: Right, the next one is just that even if you're not married; again single in the terms of the census, you can still have children. This stat says that about 41% of all births in the US, now take place outside of marriage. I was really surprised. I was really surprised how high that number is though.

Emily: Me too. That's amazingly high.

Jase: Especially since we still have social stigma against having children before you're married, I still feel like there's a certain social stigma, but look how common it is.

Emily: Yes, so many people are like, "Well, are they married? They're having a kid, are they married?" You don't have to be. There's no reason to be. You can get a sperm donor and go to town. Apparently waiting on marriage makes you less likely to get divorced, which makes perfect sense to me because back in the day a lot of people would get married before even living together.They would live together for the very first time when they were married which sounds to me like a recipe for disaster. Those of you who did not, I mean good luck. I hope it went great. To me, I would definitely want to wait and spend more time learning about a person before I committed to them in that way.

Jase: Yes, this one as we are just reading it now, I realize want to go back and see what their source was for it. Because I'm curious if they mean waiting till later in your life, just till you're a little older or if they mean waiting longer in a relationship before getting married.

Emily: I'm assuming both probably lead to less divorce.

Jase: I would think so too because when I think about myself when I got engaged at 23, and think of myself now at 35, just being like, "God I had no idea of what I valued yet or what I really thought about life yet or what my priorities were. Wven at 23, which when you were 23, you think is very old and very mature.

Emily: You think you know everything.

Jase: Yes, totally, I did. I thought I had it all figured out.

Emily: I remember you saying that often, and how big of a deal it was when you realized, "Wait a minute, I don't have it all figured out."

Jase: I don't have anything figured out.

Emily: Yes, not a single thing.

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Exactly.

Jase: Yes, I have heard that statistic about 50% of marriages ending in divorce. I have read recently that that number has been going down actually, but one of the arguments for why that might be going down is the fact that people are doing more marriage-like things before getting married, such as living together or even having kids, so that when those breakups do happen, it's not an actual divorce, it's just a breakup. Which for good or bad; whether you think breakups are inherently bad or not, I personally don't. But it is interesting to see that at least people are avoiding some of the legal complications and maybe some of the social stigma that comes with getting divorced. Although how much stigma can there be on something that 50% of marriages do?. But whatever.

Emily: I know, but still I think a lot of people think of divorce as a failure.

Jase: Yes, absolutely. People also think of breakups as a failure. So, there's that.

Emily: Totally, you didn't try hard enough or you didn't work enough which is ridiculous. Sometimes it's both.

Jase: Or just you chose poorly and that's somehow--

Emily: You chose.

Jase: Lights on you. We also still hear that people who are single are less likely, or are more likely to have less debt than people who are married. I thought that one was interesting too. I don't know how much of that is related to, people being more likely to buy a house once they're married, or to have kids once they're married which is also expensive, I'm not sure what the cause of that one is, but I thought it was interesting. There's also some things that aren't specific about marriage, but just about being in serious committed relationships are not.

Emily: Yes, which, for example; if you're single, you can enjoy the benefits of exploring more casual partners, and then you can just pick the type of relationship that you want which is great.

Jase: And just figuring yourself out, right?

Emily: Yes, it can be friends with benefits, or just dating around, it can be more casual without needing to be finding the one and looking out for the father of your kids or something.

Jase: Sure, this one's interesting too because obviously if you are practicing some kind of ethical consensual non-monogamy, that changes this one, where you can get this benefit without having to be single to do it, if being single isn't something that you want.

Another one, and this one I don't know a ton about, but I just thought it was fun to show in here. That's that scientists have discovered an allele on one of our genes that, they have found a link between that and being happy being single. While there's nothing definitive about that sort of thing; whether you have or don't have this allele, doesn't mean that you definitely will be happy or not happy being single, but maybe gives you more likelihood of that because there are still environmental factors that will determine whether or not that actually gets expressed or not. Just fun stuff that there is there's also some other research going on about things like that.

The other thing I think that's worth keeping in mind with all of this, and I actually was just having a conversation with my mom this morning about this, but with any kind of study, is that they're all about averages. Say, scientists do a study with a large group of people and they find that 65% of people feel a certain way in a certain situation, or will do a certain thing in a certain situation, that's a significant enough number, that the headline for that study is going to be. People feel this way in this situation. When you really think about it, that's only 65% of people. That leaves a good 35% of people, who don't feel that way. Now think about even a really significant study this would be like wow, 90% of people. That still leaves 10% of people; one in 10. If you think about how many friends you have, one out of every 10 of those that's still a lot of people who are not going to fit that model, that was shown. So then there's exceptions to all of these. They can be things that generally happen but, these results aren't going to apply to everyone. If these aren't true for you that doesn't mean something's wrong with you, it just means that these studies aren't true for everybody.

As another example of this, maybe being single for some people is better during certain parts of their lives than others. As an example, someone could have had a good marriage for a long part of their life, and either been widowed, or consciously separated, and have no regrets about being married, but also don't have an interest in being married again. Or there could be other people who are single their whole life, or single most of their life and then decide to couple out or get married much later in life. It can look all these different ways and that it's not something that, there's just going to be one answer that's always best for everybody for all of their life in every situation.

Emily: Yes, absolutely. I like the idea of taking out the stigma of like the old maid, or even the bachelor, or the player, or the playboy guy. That becomes a thing of the past eventually, that we're not shunning those who do choose to stay single, and choose to maybe date a lot of people or be polyamorous on the way.


Jase: Yes, absolutely.

Emily: Yes, that those things become--

Jase: Yes, we have a couple of things here from some studies, but again these are just averages so it's not going to apply to everybody. But they're interesting.

Emily: Yes, apparently people who are single are better at health and fitness than their married counterparts. This is from Psychology Today. In addition, women who are single have better overall health, and men who are single are less likely to experience heart disease.

Jase: Now this one really jumped out at me, because I think like most people I had been told the studies before. That things like married people are healthier, married people live longer stuff like that. Those are statistics that get thrown out a lot. Or even in some of the newer studies, you'll hear things like women are healthier when they're single, but men live longer when they're married. You hear different things like that.

There's a researcher; Dr. Bella DePaulo who works at UCSB. She has devoted much of her professional life, specifically to studying single people and being single and has a whole list of articles that she's written on her site for various publications, but basically are debunking those myths. Is looking back at those studies and saying actually based on the way this study is set up, these findings don't have that conclusion or I wouldn't draw that conclusion from them. Then actually showing how some others, like these ones, are showing that single people actually could have better health.

Now when we take into account things like ethical non-monogamy. I think that confuses this issue because these studies again are looking at monogamous people. I think this is just being married versus unmarried. There's also a ton of other factors that could go into this, but I did think it was worth pointing out that one of those really common arguments used for marriage and for traditional relationships, that even people who are hyperlogical and not just being romantic about it, will pull out these things of like, "Well, you live longer," or "It's better for your health," or, "You're happier." And it's like, "No, actually there's a lot of studies showing that that's not true." That it's either the same or just a tiny bit different maybe even better for single people.

Emily: Totally, then one more study showed that people who are single have a better understanding and sense of self. Being single can allow a person to work on themselves as individuals. Incident of having to focus on the whole on the couple or on, what are we doing together as a unit. The thing is polyamory also, for me at least, has allowed me to think about myself as an autonomous human as opposed to like a unit which is really nice.

Jase: Forces us to work on our personal growth a little more too.

Emily: Totally, absolutely.

Jase: At least that's been my experience.

Emily: Exactly sometimes in a relationship I've felt stunted in the past. Again, that's not saying that every single person would, but being single also just choosing to do that allows you to focus on yourself for a while. That can be a really amazing and good thing.

Jase: I guess the one thing as we're going to move into some other discussion about these things about why you might want to be single or different degrees of being single. Before we get into that, I did want to take a moment just to mention that, with all of this, it's not about a contest. It's not about which is better, or trying to make some argument for one of the other being better.

Our goal here is more to just like with polyamory that we try to say, polyamory is not better. It's not going to fix all your problems. It might be better for me; I might prefer it. But that doesn't mean it's just objectively better. I think that's where people get caught up in their arguments, where no one can see eye to eye because it's like, "No, marriage is better because of blah," or, "Monogamy is better because of blah," or, "No, polyamory is better because of this other thing." It's like, no, our whole thing here is we just want people to realize that there are choices, that a lot of the stigma or negative associations that people will have about non-monogamy are not true, and and that these can be really successful and healthy relationships. The same thing with being single, is that we have a lot of stigma about it.

I know a lot of poly people who if they are single, feel they can't even identify as polyamorous. That they're like, 'I feel like I want to be polyamorous, or I believe in these things but I'm not dating anyone so I can't be." As opposed to realizing that polyamory is just a way that you approach relationships when you have them. It's like saying if someone's not in a relationship that they're not a monogamous person.

Emily: People wouldn't say that probably

Jase: Yes, because that's the default; it's not quite an identity. It's not something you feel like you could lose your monogamy card in the way that I feel people could lose their polyamory card.

Emily: I like that. Your monogamy card

Jase: At least that's how I hear people talk about it. I just want to get that out of the way that none of this is about one thing being better than the other. It's just about looking at some other options and maybe some of these will resonate for you and be right for you.

Emily: Absolutely that's what we're all about on this show. You have multiple options and you can do whatever the hell you want.

Jase: As long as it's ethical, please.

Emily: Yes, ethical things. In looking at all of these things, I think it can be really empowering to find love and joy and things in people other than a single human or even multiple humans. You can have friendships and find joy in your life and in the world without it all being wrapped up in a romantic relationship. There's a lot of contentment in learning to love yourself without needing the approval of another person.

Something that I realized Jase and I both and I think Dedeker agree even longer, have not been out of a romantic relationship for seven years. When I talked to my partner Josh about this, he was like, "Wow, that's a really long time." I did take three or four years off of being in a romantic relationship just to figure myself out. I do wonder sometimes like, did we miss out on that, Jase? I don't know. I don't think so necessarily. You can learn a lot from being in a relationship as well, but I think there is something really lovely about choosing to be single consciously.

It's not like they're not saying yes to everything or anything interesting that comes along by being single, but often single people can choose to be pickier about those that they let into their lives. Also, just be more content with being alone at those points when they are.

Jase: Well, I think that's a good thing to cover here that a lot of times when we talk about being single we use that term being alone; being okay with being alone. Actually one of the other statistics that I was reading about that we didn't actually put on our list earlier, but we should have is that studies have also found that single people will tend to put in a lot more effort to maintaining their family ties, their friendships and their other relationships in their lives. I know that culturally we use this term being alone or being single even right single has right in it, it's just one. One is the loneliest number and it leaves out this whole wealth of relationships that we have in our lives, that aren't just our own magic relationship. I think that's key is.

Actually, something I want to talk about is the idea of looking at this from the point of view of relationship anarchy. The core part of relationship anarchy is this idea that there is no inherent hierarchy and types of relationships. Meaning that romantic relationships, specifically, are not more important than your friendships or other things, you can choose to be committed to certain relationships and that choice doesn't have to go along with whether or not you're having sex. Or whether or not you're, "in love," or whether or not it's romantic. What however you define those things.

The point here is that you can choose to be committed in any of those or choose to not be committed or to be committed in certain ways things like that. Instead of the old idea that the plus one you're going to bring with you or the person you're going to go on vacation with is only going to be a romantic partner. That somehow that person always is going to get priority over everybody else in your life whether they're friends or family or any of this. That's the core idea behind relationship anarchy. When we look at this, how does this change thinking about being single? If we stop thinking about there's this one category of relationship that's special and that's the romantic one, and instead, say, all of my relationships are equally special and I'm the one who gets to choose how much effort I put into those or how important they are to me or what's rewarding to me about them. All of a sudden I feel like it makes single kind of not exist.

Emily: True.

Jase: That instead you could look at it as each individual piece. So rather than saying, "I'm single or I'm not," it's not just like an off-on switch. Instead, you could look at it and say, "Okay. Well, I'm not in any sexual relationships right now." So it could be like, "Okay,that thing that I want to have in my life, I don't have that right now." Then you can address that and say, "Okay, is there a way for me to to get this need met or to get this thing that I want?" or you could look at it and say, "I don't have anyone that I'm living with and like decorating a house with or something," that you can look at just that piece instead of saying, "Well the only way I can get that piece, is if it's also someone that I love, that I'm having sex with, that I want to have all these other things," that could be, "|Okay, if that's something that's important to me, maybe I can find that in another way."

Emily: So the only truly single person in that is someone who has no relationships whatsoever.

Jase: Right.

Emily: Which generally is going to be an impossibility.

Jase: Yes. Unless you're going to go out and live in a yurt somewhere by yourself.

Emily: Yes, or you're like super off the map. I'm watching The Punisher right now, like maybe he would be totally single, but--

Jase: Right, I suppose it could. I think it really changes the way that we can look at being single maybe even just stop using that word altogether--

Emily: Because it has maybe this negative connotation still.

Jase: Well, and I think that in itself just inherently devalues all our other relationships that don't qualify for whatever would be boyfriend-girlfriend significant other partner or whatever. That's interesting. Again to go back to the US Census using just not being married as the definition of single, that's really telling to that even in polyamory we still have inherited a lot of the language or a lot of the concepts from a world where you're either married or you're single and those are the only two states that you can be in. We've still got a lot of this with us, I think that's why it's really worth looking at our language; looking at the types of things that we say because I do feel like they have a lot of weight in them especially because they carry these meetings with them.

Emily: Yes, this idea that a partner who may mean just as much to you, but you're not married to could somehow be worse or mean less than the one in which you choose to cohabit with or be married to for whatever reason. Yes, and that's tough. That's certainly not something that we want to continue to perpetuate.

Jase: Yes, also to use kind of a more extreme relationship anarchy example would say you have a really good platonic relationship that you want to live together and you commit to each other and say, "We want to live with each other forever because this is just so good." Whether or not we have romantic relationships rather than the default of saying, "As soon as I'm in a romantic relationship. Peace out roommate, sorry. You're less important than this person I just met a year ago. Even though I've known you for all of my life," or whatever it is that there's a big world of difference between those things and we're taught to not think of it that way.

Emily: Absolutely.

Jase: But in relationship anarchy maybe you could co-parent with a friend of yours and that relationship you're going to prioritize it; "That one's always going to come first because this is my co-parent. This is what I'm doing with that," Then all of my romantic relationships are sexual relationships or whatever those might look like are inherently going to be less prioritized than this one. Because I've made a commitment to that because I've made that decision and not just because it is by default. In that case, being single would feel very different because it's, "Well, maybe I don't have any romantic partners right now, but I'm very committed to this relationship with my friend. Where we're living together and raising a kid." I don't feel like that person would experience that as being single.

Emily: That's a good point.

Jase: Not in the same way that someone who felt like they could only get those things through a romantic relationship.

Emily: Yes, that's a really good idea to think about. Should we move on to some reasons why one may choose to be single or more single than you would be otherwise? Or just maybe not in a romantic or sexual relationship.

Jase: Actually let's clarify something before that. I think this will also make this episode more useful to people and that's just the idea of levels of singleness.

Emily: Varying degrees of singleness.

Jase: Again, the whole term is confusing because in monogamy there's just like, you are married or you're single or you're in a committed relationship. Those are the only two choices. Whereas in polyamory you might go from three relationships to only having one or maybe that one relationship you have now is long distance, that your life might not look so clearly like, "This is my single life and this is my living with a partner I'm going to marry type of life," that there's a whole range in between there. You could feel like, like for me, for example, I had a number of relationships that ended one way or another or ended up being more casual.

For quite a while lately, my only romantic sexual relationship was with Dedeker and that as a poly person can carry with it some of those connotations of being single of like, "Oh, God I'm not really being poly," or, "Something must be missing from my life because they don't have these other serious relationships like I'm used to having." I found that for me that thought will come up then as I like really get into thinking more about it, I realize, I'm actually pretty happy with this for right now it doesn't mean it's going to be that way forever. It doesn't mean I'm closed off to other relationships, I'm not like fending them off.

I'm also realizing I've been really happy lately getting to focus more of my time on Multiamory or on some of our other podcasts projects. There have been other things, or learning Japanese that I've spent a lot more of my effort, time and emotional energy on, then pursuing and putting that work into forming new romantic relationships. Anyway, now let's get into this idea of why you might choose to stay single or in polyamory state more single. Any would be otherwise.

Emily: Yes, after a painful breakup it can definitely offer you a chance to decompress to get back into the swing of life without another human. Like we said before if you just break up with a partner, but still have other partners, it still can offer you a chance to get out of the mind space of any potential negativity or anything that happened during that relationship and get back into the swing of your own life.

Jase: Yes, that can also especially apply if the breakup was in a very serious long-term relationship or maybe someone you were living with or someone that you thought of as a primary relationship that there can be this temptation to try to make all your other partners fill in the gaps for that was, rather than this might be good to keep seeing them just as much as you did before and allow that space of the singleness of that relationship for that decompression.

Emily: Yes, that's a great point.

Jase: Going along with that being single also allows you time to focus on your personal growth, whether that is your spiritual growth or your intellectual growth like going back to school or something like that, or if this is your professional growth of saying, "Right now, this is what interests me more than pursuing romantic relationships, is working on my career or developing the next Facebook," or whatever it is.


Emily: The next Mark Zuckerberg. In the same way, it allows you to focus on your dreams, your passions, that hobby that you always wanted to get off the ground, but couldn't ever find time to do. Now, if you have some more time in your life, you could definitely be devoted to bettering yourself in a way.

Jase: Yes, it also gives you more time to evaluate the types of people that you want in your life. Especially if you use this time to really focus on appreciating your friendships for what they are and really developing those friendships, that that's a really powerful thing to do to see, what are these qualities and what are the things that make my friendship relationships are like my good family relationships are really really good? So then when I am in another romantic relationship, I have more of an idea of what is it that makes these other much more stable dependable relationships valuable rather than just focusing on-- Especially if you've just had a series of intense but short or unstable romantic relationships. Gives you a chance to get a different perspective and focus more on these other relationships that may be more stable for you, whatever those are.

Emily: Yes, like I've said before a lot of relationships that I've had I've felt put into a box not necessarily by the, but just by my own ideas of what I think they want me to be. So if you're single, you can break free of that box and you're not just limiting yourself in a way that you may have been when you were in that relationship or diminishing the things that didn't really fit into that relationship, instead you can go back to being all of who you are.

Jase: Yes, definitely. Also, just the freedom to live your own life, make your own decisions. I think especially if you're someone who likes to travel or likes to just make spontaneous plans or when your friends ask you, "Hey, do you want to go to the Grand Canyon this weekend?" You can just be like, "Yes, why not?" Instead of saying, " "Well, let me check with--

Emily: X Y and Z.

Jase: So and so, X Y and Z. Yes, even in relationships if you operate in more of like a single poly kind of way or even if you're monogamous, but live more of that kind of single autonomous life; rather than, "I'm in a relationship so everything I do has to be with them," kind of realizing that, "We each have our separate lives and the time we spend together we get to choose." Again, there's levels of singleness. I think that one's really valuable of just that freedom to be like, you might be out at dinner and then people are like, "Hey, we're going out afterward," you can just say, "Yes, sure."

Emily: Totally.

Jase: You have to ask anyone or try to coordinate that with other people's schedules. I don't mean that someone's restricting or your partners are holding you back, but still, it's polite and conscientious to check in with them.

Emily: To ask or check-in, yes.

Jase: Yes, especially if you have plans together with them and you need to coordinate. But it is nice to have that freedom to just say, "You know what? I found an opportunity to do one of those work around the world programs," or, "I'm going to be on for a year and working in a bunch different countries," or things like that.

Emily: Yes, that would be challenging if you were cohabiting with someone and then all of a sudden, "Bye-bye, I'm going to be gone for a year for a lot of different reasons."

Jase: Not that you can't do it. It's definitely more challenging.

Emily: Absolutely, yes. There are many other reasons to stay single just besides these and there are a lot of reasons to be in multiple relationships in a relationship, have great relationships with your friends and family. But again we just wanted to kind of touch today on all of the reasons why one being single is totally valid and totally great. You guys get to make the choice, so do it.

Jase: Yes, in our write-up for this episode, we'll also have links to some of the articles which then link to other things and other researchers. If you really want to delve more into this; into some of the research about it that we talked about, you can find those in our show notes which you can find at multiamory.com.

Emily: Yes, one thing that is not in our last section is that we have much now so go to multiamory.com/store and then you'll find all of our merchandise.

Jase: Yes, that's another good Christmas present for people or a holiday present or whatever festive presents.

Emily: Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, anything. Yes.

Jase: Yes, go get a fun Multiamory phone case.

Emily: Or a hoodie or pants. [laughs]

Jase: I've already heard stories from people who've worn them to the gym or to class or something and had other people go, "Is that is that Multiamory?"

Emily: Oh my God, really?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: We're taking over the world.

Jase: I know right.

Emily: Thank you all for listening.

Jase: But it's a really cool way to maybe find some other people who listen to Multiamory that you might not have met otherwise if they see that and go, "Oh, yes."

Emily: If you're like, "Where are all the poly people?" just wear your Multiamory march and you'll find them.

Jase: Exactly.

Emily: Exactly. Yes.