Amatonormativity: (noun) the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types
We’ve talked many times on this site about amatonormativity. This cultural assumption is one that not only causes people to dismiss polyamorous relationship systems but also makes them assume that single people must be miserable or find their own lives lacking somehow.
While I do know people who are unhappily single and would love to find a partner, I know other people who don’t fit this mold at all. They prefer to be single and aren’t unhappy about it at all.
I’ve often found myself wondering about potential differences between both groups — happily single vs unhappily single folks. That’s why I was very excited to stumble across today’s study, which sheds some potential light on what could be a key differentiator between those who are happy being single and those who aren’t.
Singles Who Have Satisfying Friendships Have a Lower Desire for Romantic Relationships
Today’s study found that people who are satisfied with their friendships and place their friends higher on their list of priorities are more satisfied with being single and have less desire to have a romantic relationship. (It’s worth noting that the researchers did make sure to control for other potentially confounding variables such as age socioeconomic status, health, age, and education.)
Honestly, this makes a ton of sense. Some readers might go “duh” or “isn’t this obvious?” But still, it’s nice to have some empirical confirmation.
It’s good, generally speaking, to bear in mind that a lot of what people think is obvious actually isn’t true and doesn’t stand up under actual scientific scrutiny — and to remember that a large part of science’s job is to cut through our personal biases and to differentiate between what we think must be true and what actually is.
This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.