Claims that if only you get married, you will get happier, are ubiquitous. They are also wrong. There are embarrassing methodological flaws that sully many of the studies used as the basis for those claims. Some of the flaws are so fundamental, that any social scientist who does not recognize them should be run out of the field.
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.
In 2005, Wendy Morris and I were invited to write the target article, “Singles in society and in science,” for the journal Psychological Inquiry. This was my very first publication about singles. Ten commentaries were written by scholars in a variety of disciplines, and Wendy and I responded to those commentaries.This double-issue of the journal was the result.
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.”
Sitting in my favorite chair, sipping a cup of dark roast, I realized my 59th birthday is three months away. After a moment of terror, I fell into thinking about my life so far and where 58 years has “brought” me: I am approaching 60, was laid-off 6 months ago, I’m unattached, and starting my fifth career. The only constant in my life I could come up with, the one thread tying the patchwork pieces together, is depression.
“Wow,” I said to my cats, “the pinnacle of almost six decades of living! I never could have imagined.” Then, I did what anyone in this situation would do, I laughed. I don’t know what else to do with life sometimes. Besides, though my pinnacle of achievement is not as stupendous as I thought it would be by now, I’m happy (when I’m not depressed).