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.)

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New Book Project Is On!

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.)

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Updates, Plus Coming Soon: First Results of Single-at-Heart Survey

Seems like this “All things single” blog has been a bit neglected of late. Sorry about that. I have been happily busy with lots of things. I’m getting that new-ways-of-living project off the ground, doing all the interviews I can afford to do on my own dime in order to be able to write a compelling enough proposal to get a book contract. That means either interviewing people I can get to easily by train or car, or visiting friends who can put me up for free. If I do get a contract, then I will be less constrained by costs.

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