For years, Bella DePaulo just thought she was a late bloomer. Not in finding a partner, but in wanting one. She dated here and there in high school and college, but always felt giddier when the relationships ended. “I thought, ‘Maybe I just haven’t gotten to that point where I’m interested in getting married and maybe I’m just slow,'” says DePaulo, a social scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “At some point, I realized, I’m never going to want that.”
She’s now 64 years old, partner-less for all her years – and healthier for it. She exercises when she wants, eats what fuels and satisfies her, and sleeps sans interruption from a tossing, turning or snoring partner. She makes bold, but meaningful, life changes with only the weight of her own worries, divvies up her alone and social time in a way that most energizes her and, importantly, feels fulfilled.
“It’s not a default; it’s a choice,” says DePaulo, author of “Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After.” She calls people like her “single at heart.” “This life really suits me,” she says.