[Bella’s intro: In Singled Out, I wrote a section called “The Command Team Wears Wedding Bands,” in which I described instances of singlism (stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against singles) in the military. Retired Navy veteran Roger Morris read the book and got in touch, saying that although he agrees that there is some singlism in the Navy, he also thinks there are important ways in which the Navy is a pretty great place to be single. I invited him to share his views and he did so here and here. Then, just recently, another single sailor got in touch with me about his own experiences and views of singlism in the Navy. I invited him to share his perspective, and that’s what you can read in this post. He wishes not to be identified so I’m just calling him “guest blogger.” Thank-you, guest blogger!
In writing about single life, one topic that comes up especially often is friendship. Below are links to some of my blog posts on (1) the importance of friendship; (2) whether single people get ditched when their friends marry; (3) making friends; (4) breaking up with friends; (5) how friendship is erased and distorted; and (6) other friendship themes.
I have also published a collection of my academic papers on friendship. It is called Friendsight: What Friends Know that Others Don’t.
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.)
Last January was when I first decided, with lots of input from my agent, on the theme of my new book project. It is about the many creative ways that we are living now that Americans are spending more years of their adult lives unmarried than married, and only about 20 percent of all households are comprised of mom, dad, and the kids. These are huge change from decades past. (See below for more on the theme of the book.)
Among the many myths I busted in Singled Out were the ones that single people are isolated and self-centered. Research on those myths has continued to proliferate, and the results are very consistent. It is single people, more so than married people, who maintain ties with other people and who provide long-term help to people who need it.
Below are links to some of my writings on the topic, other than Singled Out. For articles in which I discussed research findings, I have provided a brief summary.
Because of the prominent mention of people who are single-at-heart in the New York Times, I have been getting more inquiries than usual about what it means to be single-at-heart. Research on the concept is just beginning. Below are links to what I have written so far, and what I have learned from the first 1,200 people who took the single-at-heart survey.
Solo dwellers, we have our book! Eric Klinenberg’s book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, will be published tomorrow. My advanced copy is already dog-eared. At Living Single, I explained why I think this book will become a social science classic, read by students, scholars, and smart readers everywhere for years to come. At my Single at Heart blog, I shared 12 of the surprising facts you can learn about living alone from Going Solo.
[Bella’s intro: In my last post, I gave a name to the series that has actually been ongoing for some time: Perspectives on Single Life. The first entry posted specifically under that name is from Maya Bernadett. She takes on the pressure to just settle, a topic that, unfortunately, continues to be timely. There are a number of lines from this essay that I especially appreciate, but I think my favorite is the very last one. No cheating – don’t skip ahead to the end! Thanks, Maya, for sharing your essay with the readers of “All Things Single (and More).”]
Over at the Huffington Post, a post titled Holiday Advice for the Single Woman: 8 Reasons to Enjoy It, is getting teased this way:
“Instead of feeling down on yourself the next time Grandma asks you when you are going to meet a nice boy and give her grandkids, focus on why it’s sweet to be single over the holidays.”