I agree that marriage/having a partner is not required to be happy or not to be lonely.
But to be honest, when I hear people talk about how they can’t afford to get married or even get into a relationship right now… that they can’t get “tied down” because of their job, their career… those people don’t sound independent to me at all.
Independence means freedom of choice. Choice to date, choice not to date, choice to marry or not to marry, choice to sacrifice your free time for your career… or choice not to. At the point where a person cannot date, because he or she is expected to work the weekends, expected to read e-mails from work outside of working hours, expected not to take the days off that were promised to him or her, then that person is anything but independent. Of course I realize that there are also plenty of other reasons that a career could get in the way of a romantic or platonic relationship, like the possibilty of hving to or wanting to move to another town or country. Freedom of choice also means sometimes having to make sacrifices and that is perfectly fine - unless those sacrifices are not our choice, but the choice of our coworkers, our boss, our company.
We tend to picture being successful in the busniness world as the epitome of independence - as members of a western industrial nation in general, but especially we as women, since that world has shut us out for so long and only hesitantly begins to open up to us. And because we - now generally speaking again - see that world as freedom and indepence, we don’t notice when our reedom is infringed upon by our career. But in a healthy society “dating or career?”, “marriage or career?”. “child or career?” wouldn’t be questions that need to be asked. In a healthy society both women and men would really be free to choose. In the society we live in unfortunatey women often only have the choice of being dependent on their boss or dependent on their boyfriend/husband, while men often don’t have a choice at all.