The sad and lonely singleton is a myth. Far from living a tragic, Bridget Jones-style existence, single people have much richer and fuller lives than their married peers, according to a study.
Researchers found that it is actually the people who go off and get married who end up isolated because besotted couples are too involved with each other to spare time for anyone else.
Singletons, meanwhile, are almost twice as likely to socialise with their friends and neighbours as those who are married.
The researchers questioned 15,000 people, comparing the social lives of married people with those who had never married or divorced.
Their results, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, showed a bachelor was four times more likely than his married counterpart to socialise with friends.
Single women were around twice as likely to be gregarious as their married peers.
Singletons of both sexes were twice as likely to be good neighbours. And when it came to offering help, single men were 50 per cent more likely to lend a hand compared to those who are happily married, with single women not far behind.
Bachelors and spinsters were much more likely to visit or help a parent than their married siblings. They also more likely to support their extended family by visiting them regularly, with men being the most helpful.
Researcher Natalia Sarkisian, of Boston College in the US, said: ‘The married quite naturally become soul mates, drawn to and focused on each other in such a way that excludes personal ties to others. Being single increases the social connections of both women and men, but especially for men,’ she added.
In 2011 around 20 per cent of people in Britain were living alone, according to the Office of National Statistics, which concluded that, far from being lonely and isolated: ‘Single individuals … are in many ways the lifeline of the community.’
Source: Daily Mail