Everything You Think You Know About the Benefits of Marrying Is Wrong: The Evidence

Earlier in my research life, I studied the psychology of lying and detecting lies. I knew nothing about the academic research on single life or marriage. I just knew the media narrative proclaiming that if only single people would get married, they would be happier, healthier, live longer, and forever enjoy sugar and spice and everything nice. Even though I loved living single myself (except for all of the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination that I call singlism), I had no reason to disbelieve the conventional wisdom. Until, that is, I actually started reading the original research reports on marital status and life outcomes. I was stunned to find that the many claims about the supposedly transformative effects of getting married were almost always exaggerations, misrepresentations, or just plain wrong. Setting the record straight was one of my motivations for writing Singled Out.

Since that book was published, media claims about the supposed benefits of marrying just keep coming. I have continued to critique one claim after another. Each time, I study the original research report rather than simply relying on press releases. It is amazing what you can find when you actually read the academic articles.

I have been collecting my critiques (and some of my other writings) and organizing them by topic. Below are the ones I have so far. (You may need to scroll down after clicking each link.)

On getting married and (not) getting happier: What we know

Getting married and (not) getting healthy: What decades of research really shows

Debunking the myth that married people live longer

The Myth of the Isolated and Self-Centered Single Person: Who Really Is More Connected and More Likely to Provide Care?

Single parents and their children: Don’t believe the prophesies of doom

Adults with no kids: Naming, shaming, and talking back to the shaming

Getting married and (not) getting sex

Getting married and getting more money

Other Topics

Single at heart: What do we know about it?

The real reasons for living single

Single men are too often marginalized, but not – I hope – by me

The new science of living alone: Here’s a lot of what we know

What’s great about solitude: Here’s what we know

Single for the holidays — with attitude!

What do we know about the experiences of singles around the world?

Singles in the military and foreign service: Voices and perspectives

Is it fair for businesses to charge singles more? Examples from many sectors

Friendship in single life and in all of our lives

Here’s what I know about lying and detecting lies (Obviously, this last one is not about single life)

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