The growth of the aging population and the increase of age at marriage will result in a rise in the number of never-married people in the future, although there is not sufficient qualitative evidence on this emerging phenomenon. The present study aimed to explore the lived experience of never-married older adults. The lived experiences of 12 never-married older adults were collected using an in-depth interview. The hermeneutics method of Van Manen was used for identification, description, and interpretation of emergent themes. Reflection on the lived experiences of the participants uncovered six themes, including: feeling of independence, combating loneliness, moving up to self-development, feeling of regret and loss, close relationships with friends and relatives, and being annoyed of stigmatization. The findings of the present study, which illuminate the hidden aspects of never-married older adults’ lives, can be used by healthcare professionals such as psychotherapists, and also by social workers. It is recommended to study the process of being unmarried in later life and factors influencing it using grounded theory.
singleness, never married, older adults, phenomenology, aging
The authors would like to appreciate the contribution of all the participants in the present study.
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Recommended APA Citation
Hamedanchi, A., Zanjari, N., Khankeh, H., & Abolfathi Momtaz, Y. (2021). What Does It Mean to Be Never Married in Later Life? Application of Phenomenology in an Aging Study. The Qualitative Report, 26(4), 1232-1247. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4652