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

Author Bio(s)

Arya Hamedanchi is a PhD candidate with MPH in gerontology at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences. He is also a medical doctor with the experience of working in the field of aging. His MPH thesis was A Phenomenological Study on the Experiences of Older Parents of Children with Intellectual Disability and his research interests in gerontology include phenomenological investigations into older adults׳ lived experiences. Please direct correspondence to dr.hamedanchi@gmail.com.

Nasibeh Zanjari is an Assistant Professor in the Iranian Research Center on Aging, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences (USWR), Tehran, Iran. She obtained PhD degree in Health and social welfare. Her research interests are social gerontology, successful aging, medical sociology, social policy, and mixed methods research.

Hamid Reza Khankeh is a full professor at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Khankeh is an affiliated Professor in Leipzig University and a visiting professor at the department of clinical science and education in Karolinska Institute, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health management in disasters. He is an expert at qualitative research particularly grounded theory and phenomenology. He has also conducted research on older adults’ health in disasters.

Yadollah Abolfathi Momtaz earned his PhD in Gerontology with a specific focus on psychosocial gerontology from Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2011. Dr. Momtaz has been working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Malaysian Research Institute on Ageing (MyAgeing) from 2011 to 2014. He is currently working as an associate professor at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences and the editor in chief of Iranian Journal of Ageing. Dr. Momtaz has developed an innovative model of “Spousal Attitude Well-Being Model.” His research skills include research methods, questionnaire development, data management, and statistical analysis. Please direct correspondence to yabolfathi@gmail.com.


The authors would like to appreciate the contribution of all the participants in the present study.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.