What City Singles Should Be Thankful For This Holiday

by Heather Robinson


From The New York Post


What are New York’s singles thankful for this season?

Are we thankful to live in a city where each new season brings an influx of men and women to this island of strivers and with them new opportunities for friendship and possibly love?

Or, as the days grow shorter, do we feel the pinch of time at our backs and a sadness as we wonder where we may have missed our opportunity or, in the case of those who may have lost love, whether we’ll ever find it again?

And are some New Yorkers simply thankful for the joys of the single life?

Jenny Taitz is a psychologist and author of the soon-to-be-released book “How to be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for Your Soulmate.” She says that, according to studies recently conducted at Stanford University, people in relationships with partners who are “invalidating” tend to be less happy than singles.

“It’s better to be single than in an unhappy relationship,” notes Taitz. “If someone is dismissing your emotions, that leads to psychological problems. If, for instance, you want something exclusive and your partner wants something casual, and you stay in it, that isn’t great for your self-respect or your long-term happiness.”

Turns out, even a straightforward matchmaker will agree that if you’re not finding your match, it’s wise to be thankful for your independence.

“Sometimes there is comfort in having a relationship, even if it’s a bad situation. Often, sadly, it ties to people’s self-esteem, to thinking ‘This is what I deserve,’ ” said Michelle Frankel, the owner of NYCity Matchmaking. “When people realize being alone is better than being in an abusive relationship, or one in which someone is unfaithful or emotionally unavailable, that is something to be thankful for.”

Manhattan psychiatrist Will Winter points out that, whether coupled or single, people who focus on what they have, rather than what they don’t, tend to be happier.

Chats with New Yorkers interviewed at random suggest many are thankful for what they have — including good relationships or, if they’re single, freedom to live on their own terms.

“I’m absolutely thankful to have someone to share the ups and downs with,” said Matthew L., 27, an Upper East Side technology consultant.

“I’m thankful to be married, and for motherhood,” said Christie Griffin, 36, a content marketing editor who lives in Flatiron. “I had no idea how amazing it would be.”

“A lot of people feel pressure to be in a relationship over the holidays, but I don’t feel that way anymore,” said Patricia, 25, a software engineer. “I’m thankful to be out of a toxic relationship.”

Some singles stressed the value of time with family. Other New Yorkers say that despite even terrible disappointment in relationship outcomes, they are thankful.

Mindy, 38, a strikingly pretty computer engineer who lives on the Upper East Side, was recently shocked to learn that her husband of 15 years, with whom she has three children, wants a divorce because, she said, he “wants to have experiences outside of [her].”

“Honestly I don’t feel thankful for him leaving me like that with three children,” she said, but “I am thankful for the wonderful years when we were still in love.” She added that she is also thankful for her children and to be rediscovering life as a single woman.

“I can finally make myself happy and live more for myself,” she said. “That’s a great part of being single.”

Some are just happy to be free to choose.

“We can be thankful to be free to be in a relationship of our own choosing,” said Joey Lifschitz, a single, 43-year-old real-estate appraiser on the Upper West Side. Cohabitation, common-law marriage, remaining single-by-choice as well as traditional and gay marriage, are options. “How many countries and societies don’t have these freedoms?” he said. “It’s a blessing and it’s part of what makes our country special.”

So this year, if relatives ask us singles why we didn’t bring home a prospect for Thanksgiving, let’s gently remind them that romantic freedom — including the freedom to remain single unless, and until, we choose otherwise — is something to be thankful for, too.