In legal definitions for interpersonal status, a single person is someone who is not in a relationship or is "unmarried". In common usage, the term single is often used to refer to someone who is not involved in any type of serious romantic relationship, including long-term dating, engagement, or marriage.
Both single and unmarried people may participate in dating rituals and other activities to find a long-term partner or spouse.
However, in some cases single people are not interested in marriage, domestic partnership, or other types of formal, committed relationships.
People may remain single for a variety of reasons, including financial and emotional or physical health issues, stress in the family, time constraints, education, career, personal preferences, advanced age or social fears, and living in a society or locality where there are an insufficient number of people of the preferred sex for romantic or sexual attraction.
Certain careers and positions require that people remain single. Sometimes, this is coupled with celibacy or chastity, either for secular or for religious reasons, such as priests, nuns and monksin certain faiths. Loneliness can occur for some people who look for but cannot find anyone they might wish to date, especially for those suffering the loss of companionship following divorce or bereavement.
Some single people, however, regard and appreciate solitude as an opportunity.
In some countries, particular laws may directly or indirectly disadvantage single persons. In the United States, for example, Social Security widow(er) benefits are only available to those persons who have been previously married, and single people in the United States pay more income taxes than married people.
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