Rose Ng during a ski trip to Lake Louise in Canada...

Rose Ng during a ski trip to Lake Louise in Canada in 2017.  Credit: Rose Ng

Lindsey Draves didn’t consciously choose not to get married. “It’s just how it worked out,” she said.

And now, the 73-year-old Glen Cove resident sees no advantage to walking down the aisle.

“I’m very actively involved in different charity work, travel frequently, play pickleball two to three times a week and I’m financially stable,” said Draves, who retired in 2015 as a vice president of a Manhattan-based media and market research firm.

Despite the stereotype of lonely older singles, some of Long Island’s unattached residents are defying that caricature by being unabashedly content — whether never-married, divorced or widowed.

Although they don’t rule out having a long-term romantic partner, these older singles said such a relationship isn’t essential to their emotional well-being. With close friends, strong family ties, varied pastimes, charity work and travel, they said their calendars are filled with rewarding activities that keep them on the go. And some have no desire to marry, since doing so at their age could eventually turn them into an ailing spouse’s caregiver.

What’s more, they said they generally don’t mind their alone time. Rather, it gives them the opportunity to relax, read or watch a movie — without having to negotiate their film choices with a cohabitant.

“Since it’s rare that I have a totally free day, it’s nice to have downtime — to read for a couple of hours or clean out a room,” said Draves.

Lindsey Draves volunteers with Hair We Share, which helps those...

Lindsey Draves volunteers with Hair We Share, which helps those with cancer and alopecia. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Draves attributed her full life, in part, to her involvement in the Long Island chapter of The Transition Network, a national organization that provides its members — women 50 and older — with an array of volunteer opportunities as well as social activities, such as book clubs and group outings to restaurants and Broadway shows.

Through the organization, Draves, who is chair of the local chapter, conducts a walking group, plays canasta and does data entry for the Jericho-based Hair We Share, which collects donations of human hair for people with cancer and alopecia. Draves said she also vacations every summer on the Outer Banks in North Carolina with her family and travels frequently with one or two friends to Europe. A trip to Morocco is in the planning stages.

“I’m not moaning or groaning. I like my life,” said Draves. Though she isn’t averse to a relationship, she said, “I’ve worked hard, I own my own home, I’m independent and I see no reason to rock the boat.”

HEIGHTENED CONTENTMENT

On Long Island, there are nearly 400,000 singles aged 50 and older, based on figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. There is no way to gauge the overall happiness of this cohort, but, according to a June 2022 report in the journal Psychology and Aging, studies suggest that people in mid- to late adulthood — those in their 40s through 80s — experience heightened contentment with their single status.

Bella DePaulo, a noted social scientist who has studied singles for three decades, said that people who never married, in particular, enjoy increased contentment later in life because of the time they have invested in their friendships. “And that’s paid off,” she said.

In contrast, after getting married, many individuals give less priority to their friendships and “if the marriage ends, they’re really lost, having marginalized everyone,” said DePaulo, 70, a lifelong single who has authored many books on the topic, including “Single at Heart: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life.”

Plus, with their peers growing older and many of them also becoming single, either through divorce or death of a spouse, unattached people no longer feel like third wheels in social settings, DePaulo, said.

“They also experience less pressure from people who want to fix them up,” she said.  

‘DO IT NOW’

Garden City resident Rose Ng, who never married, has no regrets.

Ng, who described herself as “over 60,” said she enjoys a satisfying, active life, with a close-knit family, friends, frequent vacations and athletic pastimes.

To a large degree, Ng, who retired in 2015 as a senior vice president of a consumer goods company, said she owes her lifestyle to a career that has given her the financial resources to take to the slopes in Argentina, Chile and New Zealand and, this winter alone, at five domestic ski resorts, including Sun Valley, Idaho and Mount Bachelor in Oregon. After a getaway to Sicily earlier this month, she is planning a trip to Japan later this year. And every summer, she vacations at the Jersey Shore with her extended family.

“My motto is, ‘Do it now,’ ” she said.

Still, her single life does have one downside: eating alone. So about four to five times a week, she said she dines out with friends. When she does find herself solo at dinnertime, Ng said she beelines to the takeout counter. “I don’t spend the time cooking or cleaning for one meal. I’d rather be outside in a kayak or at the beach and reading a book,” she said.

And because she lives alone, Ng said she prioritizes “getting out” once a day for a social activity, such as playing tennis a few times a week.

Ng doesn’t rule out a companion but said she wants someone who would join her in the activities that are so much a part of her life. “I’m content. Things are good,” she said. “I’m able to pursue adventures and interests I like to do and spend time with family and friends.”  

‘NEVER SPENT A LONELY DAY’

After two marriages that ended in divorce, including one that lasted a decade and produced a son, and a 10-year cohabitation that ended a dozen years ago, Glen Cove resident Charles Faraone, 76, attributed his current stretch of singlehood to being “selective,” he said.

“Life is better when it’s shared, but I’m not about to try to share it with someone who I’m not in sync with,” he said.

According to Faraone, he remains content with his solo status largely because of the way he is wired. “I’ve always been happy,” said Faraone, who ran singles events and owned a publishing company after his first divorce and, before retiring, an office supply business. “I’ve never spent a lonely day in my life. Life is too interesting. I see the world through the eyes of a child and can’t look out the window without seeing something that blows my mind.”

Charles Faraone.

Charles Faraone. Credit: Howard Simmons

Beyond his daily sense of wonderment, Faraone said he has formed friendships through the Meetup.com group North Shore Walking & Hiking. He also volunteers as a server and handyman for the North Shore Soup Kitchen at the First Baptist Church in Glen Cove.

His varied activities notwithstanding, Faraone is “fine with being alone for days,” he said. “I enjoy my own company. I love being me.”   

SOLO ONCE AGAIN

Bellmore resident Barbara McLean is also content in her singledom.

After her 15-year marriage ended in divorce in 2008, McLean said she was in a 9½-year relationship. But in 2022, she moved out, and 10 months ago ended their relationship for good.

McLean couldn’t be happier now, she said.

“I realized that there was nothing in the relationship for me,” said McLean, 61, who has two grown sons and is a health insurance social worker for people with disabilities. “Anything I wanted to do or places I wanted to go, he wasn’t interested.”

Barbara McLean.

Barbara McLean. Credit: Barbara McLean

Solo once again, McLean said she has traveled to Dublin and sings to her heart’s content on karaoke nights throughout Long Island. She also serves on the board of Blended City, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that offers theater opportunities to disadvantaged communities.

“I’ve reclaimed the woman I was when I met this person,” she said. “The relationship showed me how I want to live my life.”

After a three-year marriage ended in divorce, Patricia Cimpric, now 57, remarried. She and her second husband, Richard, were together for 18 years. But in 2019, Richard died of cardiac arrest.

Concerned that her single years would pass in front of the television, the Bayport resident, a customer service representative for financial advisers, said she has proactively carved out a satisfying life for herself.

In addition to a group of longtime, supportive friends, Cimpric said she has expanded her social circle to other single women she met through Bumble, a dating site that also offers the option of finding friends. With these new acquaintances, she has gone line dancing and camping, among other activities.

And this past October, she said she cruised to Bermuda with members of the Facebook group 8 O’Clock Shot, which was launched during the pandemic as a way to share a virtual drink at that hour. During the voyage, Cimpric made two good friends, including a Floridian who traveled to New York so they could attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade together.

Patricia Cimpric repairs a fence in her backyard in Bayport.

Patricia Cimpric repairs a fence in her backyard in Bayport. Credit: Morgan Campbell

In her singledom, Cimpric said she has also discovered hidden talents. Inspired by a stand-up comedian whose performance she watched on Facebook, Cimpric said that last year she enrolled in a six-week course offered by Governor’s Comedy Club at McGuire’s in Bohemia. At graduation, Cimpric said she and the other participants demonstrated their comedic chops.

“My friends tell me I’m good,” she said, adding, “I’ve been reinventing myself and becoming comfortable with who I am at this stage in my life.”

Plus, after getting one too many pricey bids for home repairs, Cimpric has turned into a DIYer. Thanks to YouTube videos — as well as the knowledge she gained from handing her late husband tools while he built their house, including framing and installing Sheetrock and floors — she said she has mounted shelves, replaced bathroom tiles and sanded steps.

“I’m living my best life,” Cimpric said. “I’m embracing the blessings that I’ve been given and not letting being alone stop me. I’m not waiting to have a partner to begin living.”

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