Why Are People So Threatened By Alternative Relationships?

beautiful woman on the walk
beautiful woman on the walk

In a post originally published in Huffington Post Quebec and shared on Huffington Post, I Want to Be Single -- But with You, writer Isabelle Tessier wrote about living independent, parallel lives complemented by a relationship on-demand.

Ms. Tessier's post elicited hundreds of comments, mostly from readers who were critical of Tessier's paradigm, citing everything from selfishness to immaturity.

As an observer, participant and writer who focuses on the evolving relationships model, I'm more interested in what Tessier's readers have to say, though I am behind Tessier every step of the way.

Why are people so threatened by alternative models when it comes to relationships?

Half of all Americans over the age of 18 are single. We've certainly heard feedback about same sex marriage. The 50 percent divorce rate is an urban legend. Of couples who exchanged vows during the 1990s, 70 percent had reached the 15-year mark, compared to 65 percent of those who had married in the 1970s at that point. (Interesting, divorced rates among Evangelicals seem to be higher than even non-believers, according to a report by the Council of Contemporary Family.)

Following the lead of many European countries, fewer Americans are choosing to marry. Single or married, women are stepping away for the mommy track in record numbers. According to the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, 47.6 percent of women aged 15-44 have never had children, the greatest percentage since the Census began tracking this statistic in 1976. (Though some women might end up giving birth, the number women who are childfree by choice has increased.)

Whether we are discussing divorce, child-free, single by choice or same sex marriage, plenty of Americans are vocal about their disdain for anything different from the status quo. A popular response to those who are against same sex marriage has been "Then, don't marry someone of the same sex!" We could easily substitute divorced, child-free or single.

The model of early 60s Betty Draper greeting her husband with a dry martini and making sure the kids don't disturb daddy is long gone. Most women work outside the home and even those who are SAHMs don't typically subscribe to the "wife and mother as martyr" archetype.

Society evolves. Dynamics change. Not every single woman is holding her breath while perusing Match.com in search of The One. Single and unmarried people can lead fulfilled lives without being selfish or perpetually lonely. In fact per a recent survey, singles are more likely to volunteer in civic organizations and spend more time with friends and neighbors.

Whether someone's desired relationship status includes Married with Separate Vacations, Double Income with Two Kids and a Dog or Happily Single, we all count.

Beth Cone Kramer is the co-writer of the upcoming Bachelor Girls Guide.