Singleness is on the rise in America. People who are in their 20’s and 30’s are staying single longer, and retirees are divorcing more often, according to a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times recently. The statistics reveal that in 1950, 22 percent of Americans were single, now it’s almost 50 percent. Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil agrees with the articles when they say that social connections are fraying, that more people are alienated and lonely, and that people try to convince themselves it’s ok to be alone. She states that Americans are becoming a society of lonely narcissists and what could reverse this are Dr. Bonnie’s Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue to be the glue when a relationship is new, as well as the glue that holds long-term relationships together. This is why her patients have such a high success rate of staying together.
The divorce rate is surging for Baby Boomers – more than one third are divorced or never married – and this presents problems that many might not think about: no spouse around for companionship, no one to help shoulder financial concerns, no one to be supportive through the aging process. Dr. Bonnie often hears singles and divorcees say, ‘who will take care of me?’ “This is a perfect example that people often think getting rid of a person through divorce will get rid of their problems,” reminds Dr. Bonnie, “but it won’t.” In the case of Baby Boomers in particular it introduces a whole other set of issues. “Studies show when elderly divorce they tend to die earlier, they’re prone to illness and depression, and they have no one to lean on,” Dr. Bonnie explains, “especially in tough economic times when people have less savings and kids often still need help as opposed to being able to care for their parents. Unmarried Baby Boomers are five times more likely to face poverty.” Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports, unmarried Baby Boomers today face tougher economic hardship than did their parents or grandparents.
As people get older, and they often become more stubborn and have less patience, they are less compromising and therefore less apt to want to work on a relationship, says Dr. Bonnie. But most divorces can be prevented, if only the couple knew they could learn Dr. Bonnie’s Survival Kit (tools and simple skills and dialogue so they can be happy and healthy in their golden years). “Couples in this situation need to understand that being single has its own problems, especially as they get older.” Financially, things are harder alone and healthwise, Dr. Bonnie says, “no one can catch you when you fall.” Feeling “liberated” is one of the main factors in wanting to be single, but Dr. Bonnie reminds people that there should be liberation in a healthy relationship.
This goes for Baby Boomers and younger people alike. “Couples can have it both ways and not have problems of being alone in their golden years! ” Dr. Bonnie says. “People can always have liberation in marriage if I teach them how, but loneliness if someone is single, is a whole other story.”
Dr. Bonnie believes most marriages can be saved, and has treated a high percentage of couples who end up staying together, but has seen society place less and less emphasis on the importance of working things out. “As a society, we don’t fight hard enough for our relationships – and part of that is because we don’t know how. We think getting rid of a person will eliminate the problem but it only gives us more problems,” observes Dr. Bonnie.
Baby Boomers – and singles, no matter what age – need to know they don’t have to be divorced or stay single because they want to get rid of their problems, or because they’re in pursuit of “freedom.” There are skills that will free people in a marriage – these skills are easier than learning how to drive, couples just have to learn what they are.
Dr. Bonnie talks more about these skills in her book, Make Up Don’t Break Up.
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil’s best-selling book, Adultery the Forgivable Sin is being re-released under a new distributor and making its appearance available in eBook format and print on Amazon.com. Adultery the Forgivable Sin was also made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Kate Jackson.
Dr. Bonnie was named by Psychology Today and NY Magazine as one of America’s Best Therapists and is presently featured and available now on the Discovery Health/Oprah Winfrey Network documentary titled “Unfaithful” and A&E on addictions. Find her on Good Morning America’s three-day series on NBCs The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, and a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN; and is often featured in USA Today and the New York Times.