going solo | November 27, 2012

Savage Love: Eric Klinenberg Gives Dan Savage Some Advice on Singlehood

Relationships can be tricky, and sometimes even the most sought-after love gurus need some advice from time-to-time. Eric Klinenberg, author of the popular book Going Solo recently shared his insights with well-known relationship advice columnist Dan Savage (of Savage Love). In the column, a reader wrote in inquiring as to why his friends and family couldn't accept that he had no interest in settling into a long-term relationship and preferred his own company to that of a romantic partner. Klinenberg explained that this man's experience was far more typical than he might think. "In recent decades," Klinenberg says, "young adults have been the fastest growing group of American singletons. They're delaying marriage and spending more years single. Moreover, they increasingly recognize the fact that over their long lives, they're likely to cycle in and out of different situations: alone, together; together, alone."

This seismic shift in lifestyle that Klinenberg presents was named as the #1 Idea That is Changing Your Life by TIME Magazine. "We've come a long way in our attitudes about sex and relationships," he writes in the column. "Now that living alone is more common than living with a spouse and two children, isn't it time we learned to respect the choice to go solo, too?" We can do this, he says, by thinking critically about the negative stereotypes associated with being single and realizing that many of them are untrue. People who choose not to be coupled up tend to be more social and active in their communities than their married counterparts, Klinenberg points out—thus disproving the belief that singles are often selfish, isolated and anti-social.

Klinenberg is a professor of Sociology at New York University. In addition to Going Solo, he has also written two other books: Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago and Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media. In his writing and speeches he dissects the biggest societal changes of our times. He explains that solo living is one of the biggest lifestyle shifts we have seen in decades, and that the effects of this change impact our personal lives, our families, our cities, and our economy.