In relationships, a single person is one who is not married, or, more broadly, who is not in an exclusive romantic relationship.

Single people may engage in dating to find a partner or spouse. Not all single people actively seek out a relationship, however, as some are content to wait for the 'right' person to enter their lives, while others do not seek relations at all.

According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the fastest-growing household type since the 1980s has been the single person.

Loneliness can occur for many single 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.

There is a legal distinction between a single person and an unmarried person. Generally, an unmarried person may have been married and now be widowed or divorced. This may be the significance of the title of the 1978 Paul Mazursky film An Unmarried Woman. In some cases, mortgage papers have had to be redrawn because the buyer was mistakenly described as "unmarried" rather than "single." (This left open the possibility that a mysterious ex-spouse might claim a part interest in the house being purchased.)

Single men are often referred to as bachelors—while single women generally are only named bachelorettes in festive contexts in American English. Elderly single women are sometimes referred to as spinsters, but the term is considered pejorative and sexist. Catherinette was a traditional French label for girls of twenty-five years old who were still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Singles. The Official Guide to Singles is Dr. Jackie Black.

Jackie Black, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized relationship expert, educator and coach whose breadth and depth of experience attracts clients from all over the world. Dr. Jackie inspires and encourages people to risk again; to move through the challenges and pitfalls of dating, loving and building long-lasting, committed relationships in today's fast-paced world.

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