Living single: A phenomenological study of a group of South African single women

Published on 2018-08-08T12:00:00Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Worldwide, societies continue to privilege the ideology of couplehood to the detriment of other relationship states, like singlehood, that are steadily increasing in number. Furthermore, according to developmental psychology theory, the formation of a committed romantic relationship is viewed as an important psychosocial developmental task in adulthood. It is therefore not surprising that women’s experience of being single has generally been neglected by psychological theory and research. Situated in a feminist-phenomenological perspective, this study explored the experiences of tertiary-educated, child-free, never-married, White, South African women between the ages of 30 and 40. Giorgi’s descriptive-phenomenological method was used to analyse the individual interview data. In this article, we discuss four of the prominent themes that best reflect the collective views and multi-faceted experiences of the participants: singlehood brings both freedom and loneliness; career as both fulfilment and singlehood coping mechanism; committed partners as sources of both restriction and connection; and hoping for a committed relationship. We highlight how the notion of a committed sexual relationship as the ultimate relationship that provides effortless connectedness and companionship underpins all of these themes. We argue that alternative discourses and mechanisms of connection that accommodate people who live as single adults, should be fostered.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Lesch, Elmien; van der Watt, Alberta SJ (2018): Living single: A phenomenological study of a group of South African single women. SAGE Journals. Collection.