Is single, over 40 the norm now?

Recently I saw a post on Facebook where the writer was lamenting the fact he had not been in a relationship for several years. He asked his friends on the network to share the length of time they had been single. The post suddenly came to life and people began to post periods of six years or more of singleness. Mainly women over 40 seemed to have periods of 10 years or more of being alone. I was a little cynical about this post. I wanted to know if these periods of singleness were totally without any interaction from an opposite or single with the odd dalliance? My curiosity stemmed from wanting to know whether the stories from my girlfriends are mirrored in the lives of other women and men. The question however still remains, in 2017 is being single a growing trend for the over 40’s?

A young Bengali man told me just this week that although divorce is growing in their community, people his age (under 30 years old)  tend not to risk single-hood, because the chances are you may never again find a life partner. For his community, the thought of getting older without a husband or wife is something to be avoided.

According to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, there were 26.7 million households and 28% of these consist of one person.  Three million of these homes were occupied by a single parent with one or more children. The lone parent is still regarded as a single adult. There were at least three million couples cohabiting and they are counted as single. Same sex marriages are not included in these figures. If we also consider people who have never been married, divorced or widowed the number of singles has risen above 50% since 1996. These figures suggest that singleness may be becoming more of a trend in the UK.

What does this mean for singles in the church and particularly women who represent 70 – 80% of the membership? When Pastors say a husband can be found in the church are they selling women a dream?

As a single woman myself I am fed up with the rhetoric that suggests Christian women are not doing enough to attract possibles. They are not spiritual enough. They are carrying too much baggage. They are not feminine enough. They are not vitreous enough, They…and the list goes on.

I need an honest conversation on this topic. It makes me angry that so many people seem to know the answers but at the end of the day the statistics say, nothing is changing for single women and men. Listen to my conversation with Hasani Pettiford about singleness and faith…

Let me know your thoughts….

Eb x