Is it too hard to live alone

End of the line self-marriage? Life in the single trap

Anyone who is lonely begins at some point to revolve more and more around themselves and slowly becomes self-centered. This is what the psychologist John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago found out together with his colleagues. The researchers viewed data from a comprehensive health survey that surveyed around 230 Americans between the ages of 50 and 68 annually from 2002 to 2013. It was found that lonely participants were significantly more self-centered after just one year. And that is exactly what makes it so difficult to get involved with people again and to maintain contact with them over a longer period of time.

In the short term, loneliness makes perfect evolutionary sense. In this way you can better perceive your own needs and motivate yourself to maintain social contacts. But in the long run it damages the body and soul.

John Cacioppo, psychologist

Cacioppo has been researching loneliness for years. In various studies in different countries, he found that on average around 30 to 40 percent of the population feel lonely. However, the psychologist emphasizes that someone who lives alone does not necessarily have to be lonely. Many singles loved their freedom.

Society alone does not help against loneliness

On the other hand, you can also feel chronically lonely, even if you have a partner or are surrounded by other people at school and at work. This is the case when these contacts are purely everyday support or a mere company and there is no real mutual address. Then Cacioppo recommends:

Do volunteer work that you enjoy. If you work in a soup kitchen, you will suddenly find that other people can be really nice and respond with gratitude to this very speech that you might otherwise miss.

John Cacioppo, psychologist

If none of this helps, there is still "self-marriage" in the end, a curious trend that began in America in the early 1990s. In 1993, Linda Baker from Los Angeles married herself and thus provided the template for the television film "I Me Wed" - "I marry myself". Only recently, however, have single marriages become really popular, especially in the USA, Great Britain and Japan - with bachelorette parties, wedding dresses, rings and all the trimmings. This ritual is a commitment to oneself and it fulfills the dream of being a bride one day - even without a husband.

Radio | 05/04/2017 | 8:10 am