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

Marriage_vs._Single__Cover_for_Kindle, 2-28-15The_Science_of_Marri_Cover_for_Kindle, 2-28-15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every time I learn about a new claim that getting married makes people happier or healthier or more connected or live longer (and all the rest), I go to the original research report to see what the findings really did say. The media — and sadly, many social scientists — routinely get it wrong. No, getting married does not cause  you to become lastingly happier or healthier or better off in any way than if you stayed single (well, you do get more money because of all the laws and practices that benefit married people and discriminate against singles).

Here (below), you can find links to all my critiques of these studies. I’ll keep adding more as new claims hit the media that I need to debunk. I’ve also put together 2 books of my writings explaining why all those Marriage Wins claims are so wrong. Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong includes a chapter previously available only in an expensive edited volume, a new paper that is the most powerful and comprehensive explanation of what the research does and does not show about the implications of getting married, plus 39 other brief chapters (many from my blogs). Because I think that new powerful and comprehensive paper is so important, I have made it into a stand-alone book (together with an introduction) in The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn’t So. (Both are available both as paperbacks and as ebooks. You can read more about them here.)

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Check Your Marital Privilege

checklist[This article is co-authored – in alphabetical order – by Lisa Arnold, Rachel Buddeberg, Christina Campbell, and Bella DePaulo. We are cross-posting it on all of our blogs.]

“White privilege” and “male privilege” are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We’re talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.

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The Best of Single Life: A New Collection

cover, Best of Single Life

I’ve just put together a collection of 65 of my writings on single life in a book called The Best of Single Life. I think these are some of my most empowering articles, making a strong positive and utterly undefensive case for single life as the good life. In the book, I explain what I think is best about single life, for those who are as enthusiastic about living single as I am, as well as for those who do not want to stay single, but do want to live their single lives to the fullest while they are single.

The Best of Single Life is available in paperback here and here, and as an ebook here. The book includes 8 sections:

  1. Why Singles Are Thriving – Despite All You’ve Heard to the Contrary
  2. Single Life: We Chose It
  3. Mocking Those ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists
  4. The Good Life and the Successful Life
  5. Savoring Our Solitude: Choosing to Spend Time Alone
  6. Valuing Our Relationships: Choosing to Spend Time with Others
  7. Sex and the Single Person: Have It Your Way – or Just Skip It
  8. Are We Missing Out by Being Single – or Are They?

Here’s a sampling of some of the 65 articles in the collection:

  • 7 secrets of successful single people
  • Who wrote the book of love? Happy single people
  • Fear not: The advantages of people unafraid to be single
  • Are single people more resilient than everyone else?
  • Why aren’t married people any happier than singles? A Nobel Prize winner’s answer
  • Wedding porn doesn’t turn us on: Age at first marriage has never been higher
  • The last ‘why are you single’ list you will ever need
  • Elements of the good life: Our list is too short
  • Sweet solitude: The benefits it brings and the special strengths of the people who enjoy it
  • The happy loner
  • Best things about living alone – for people who mean it
  • Single, no children: Who’s your family?
  • If you are single, will you grow old alone? Results from 6 nations
  • Who keeps siblings together when they become adults?
  • Bigger, broader meanings of love and romance
  • Getting married and getting sex (or not)
  • Asexuals: Who are they and why are they important?
  • Are monogamous relationships really better?
  • 23 ways singles are better
  • What you miss by doing what everyone else does
  • Top 8 reasons not to marry
  • Keeping marriage alive with affairs, asexuality, polyamory, and living apart
  • How many married people wish they were single?
  • The end of marriage

I hope you enjoy it! (You can find my other books here.)

Adults with No Kids: Naming, Shaming, and Talking Back to the Shaming

My primary interest is in people who are single. Marital status (or coupled status) is a separate issue from parental status. You can be single with kids or married with no kids. I know that’s obvious but the two are conflated all the time. In this post, I want to focus on the “no kids” part.

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On Getting Married and (Not) Getting Happier: What We Know

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.

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Single-at-Heart: What Do We Know about It?

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.

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Psychological Inquiry, Double Issue on Singles — Copies Available

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.

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Holiday Pity Parties for Single People – Not My Style!

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.”

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