According to The Sunday Times magazine, in 2004 there were seven million people living alone in Britain. That's around four times as many as in 1961. By some estimates, 37% of all British households in 2021 are expected to be made up of people who live alone.
And a lot of this is because men and women are coming to realise that they just can't live together.
We know that one in three of all marriages in Britain end in divorce, and the break-up rate among those that just co-habit is significantly higher. It's not unusual now for middle aged men and women to have had four or five spouses or longer term live-in partners.
In the past, convention decreed that men and women live together or get married as a sign of their commitment to the relationship. But the truth is that someone is no more or less committed just because he or she shares the same house with a partner.
And, let's face it, men and women were not really meant to live together anyway. We don't think the same way, have the same expectations or enjoy the same pastimes. And the longer we stay together in the same house, the more likely that the relationship will deteriorate or simply die.
The answer it seems (in this gender-equal world) is that men and women should keep their own properties and simply sleep over three or four times a week. This kind of arrangement serves to keep the relationship fresh and enables the parties to have a life each apart and one together. And that's important, as relationships often end as one of the parties eventually feels that they have been forced to change their way of life to suit their partners needs.
The upshot of all this, of course, is that marriage becomes out of date. Well, let me tell you something - it already is. As an institution, it is finished. Sure, it might work for some folks, but how many truly happy married couples do you know?
I can just hear the traditionalists now: 'Do away with marriage? What about the sanctity of the family? How can we hope to properly bring up our children if they are born out of wedlock?'
Children are reared responsibly by responsible and caring mothers and fathers. And they don't have to share the same house to be responsible.