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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Single Parents and their Children: Don’t Believe the Prophecies of Doom

In Singled Out, I devoted a chapter to debunking the myth that the children of single parents are doomed. I described various studies and showed how the results are exaggerated or misrepresented. I also reviewed studies inconsistent with the doom-and-gloom narrative; they, unfortunately, get little media attention.

New studies have been published since then, so I have continued to address the topic. There is also lots of panic around single parenting and some overwrought media stories and political proclamations. I’ve critiqued those, too.

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To Ann Romney, All Women Are Mothers and the Children of Single Dads Feel Weird

Speaking to the Republican National Convention last night, Ann Romney exclaimed that she loved women. (Well, not that way.)  I don’t think she realizes, though, that not all women are mothers. Either that or she thinks that the only women who count are the mothers.

“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right,” she said.

“It’s the moms of this nation,” she added, “single, married, widowed – who really hold this country together.”

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How to Become a Guest Blogger

I love featuring voices other than mine here at “All Things Single (and More).” Although I read widely about single life, think critically, study the academic journals, and do my own original research, my perspective is limited by my own life experiences. So, even though I always appreciate hearing from people who share my point of view, I also greatly value those whose single lives have been very different.

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SINGLISM Is Published!

“All Things Single” readers, I’m blogging to you first. My new book, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matterse, and How to Stop It – written together with 28 other contributors – is now available. You can get it here at Amazon, though as I write this, Amazon has not yet added the description of the book. (They build book pages one or two sections at a time.) You can also get the paperback here, at the book’s own page, where the description does show up.

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