Letter: The drawbacks of singledom

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Catherine Pepinster is right to challenge the assumptions underlying that paradox of the popularity of marriage combined with the increasing divorce rate ("Paula you'd be better off alone", 16 June). But she is over-enthusiastic in her endorsement of the state of solitude. Older single men are more at risk of mental health problems than those in stable relationships. Single-parent women are more likely to live in poverty, face discrimination, and their children more likely to develop emotional difficulties.

Young people need to be encouraged to celebrate a variety of lifestyles in a society with more tolerance and a social and economic framework that enlarges rather than constricts choice.

Steven Walker

West Bergholt, Essex