Single at Heart

The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life
by Bella DePaulo, PhD

From acclaimed social scientist Dr. Bella DePaulo, the leading expert on single life, comes this groundbreaking, comprehensive, totally unapologetic case for single life. For the “single at heart,” DePaulo finds, single life is a joyful, meaningful, fulfilling, psychologically rich, and authentic life. The single at heart are flourishing because they are single, not in spite of being single.

***The Independent Publisher Book Awards has awarded “Single at Heart” a Gold Medal! ***

In SINGLE AT HEART: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life, Dr. Bella DePaulo challenges the notion that single life is something people settle for, and shows that for millions, in every part of the world, living single is the key to flourishing and living their very best life. Those people are “single at heart.” From survey data from more than 20,000 people from more than 100 different countries, and other research, DePaulo shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, those who embrace single life grow happier as they age. They have the skills and experiences to navigate old age more successfully than those who built their lives around romantic relationships.

Drawing on more than three decades of social science research, and her own life as a 70-year-old who has been happily single her entire life, DePaulo—a Harvard PhD whose TEDx Talk on the topic has more than 1.6 million views—paints a bold and transformative picture of the secret strengths and great advantages of people who love being single.

People who are single at heart:

  • Have the freedom to decide every aspect of their lives, from the structure of their everyday lives to life-altering changes.
  • Get to welcome into their lives as many people as they like – The Ones instead of The One.
  • Are often devoted to their friends and committed to their communities and their causes.
  • Cherish the time they have to themselves, and so they are rarely lonely.
  • Enjoy intimacy on their own terms.
  • Understand that love is about far more than just romantic love.

While empowering and celebrating the people who embrace their single lives, SINGLE AT HEART also points to the “singlism” that creates unfair challenges to all people who are single. Singlism is the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and marginalizing of single people, and the discrimination against them. Professor DePaulo defangs some of the most negative stereotypes by sharing the life stories of people around the globe who are single and flourishing. She exposes the systems of inequality that advantage coupled people and disadvantage single people. In the closing chapter, she offers a blueprint for bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice for single people.


  • “Single at Heart” book signing at Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara, CA, 1/23/24

    January 23, 2024 6:00 pm

    Bella DePaulo will sign copies of Single at Heart at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara, CA at 6 pm. Location: 3321 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.

  • Discussion of “Single at Heart” at Third Place Books, Ravenna, in Seattle, 2/5/24

    February 5, 2024 7:00 pm

    Reading and discussion of Single at Heart, by Bella DePaulo, at Third Place Books, Ravenna, at 7 pm. Location: 6504 20th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98115.

  • Single at Heart reading at Book Passage in San Francisco, 2/13/24

    February 13, 2024 5:30 pm

    On Tues Feb 13, 2024, Galentine’s Day, at 5:30 pm, I will discussSingle at Heart” at a wonderful bookstore — Book Passage, the Ferry Building, in San Francisco.

Single at Heart in the Media


Fenton Johnson

Author, At the Center of All Beauty:  Solitude and the Creative Life

Bella DePaulo writes with characteristic panache and passion about the rewards of flying solo. I read Single at Heart—as I read her previous work—with delight and a frequent chuckle, at her wit, her good cheer, and her irrepressible joy in life and love. I took deep pleasure from her authoritative, no-nonsense reinforcement of what I already knew to be true in my heart: The essential role solitaries play in building and sustaining healthy, fully realized -communities. Brava!

Gina Fattore

Novelist and TV writer, author of The Spinster Diaries and writer-producer on Dawson’s CreekGilmore Girls, and Parenthood

If you need a break from all the cultural chatter coming at you 24-7 insisting that you can’t really be happy if you’re single, Bella DePaulo’s new book Single at Heart is a must-read. In addition to Bella’s own story, it’s filled with the voices of real people from all over the world who are leading authentic, rewarding, joy-filled lives outside “the couple norm,” which is a term I didn’t realize I needed until I read this book. As a lifelong single person, I started out, pen in hand, ready to underline and highlight and put a ton of exclamation marks in the margins – and then very quickly I realized that I was going to have to underline the whole book.

Elyakim Kislev

Author of Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living

Masterfully dismantling age-old misconceptions about singlehood, Bella DePaulo reveals in this book the vibrant, authentic lives of those ‘single at heart.’ This book is a powerful reminder that living single isn’t a compromise for many people, but a profound, deeply fulfilling life path.

Catherine Gray

Author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Single

Bella DePaulo isn’t just a powerhouse, she’s a lighthouse. She reveals what the Couples Industrial Complex don’t want you to know. More power to her for chipping away at reductive and fundamentally baseless single stigmas. We need more luminaries like her.

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law and author of Red Families V. Blue Families

Bella DePaulo has unparalleled perspective and insight into singlehood. In this book, DePaulo compellingly shows what it means to be single at heart, bringing together years of research and personal experience. Single at Heart is for those who are single at heart—and for those who are not.

Ginny Hogan

Author of I’m More Dateable than a Plate of Refried Beans

Single at Heart is the book society needs to finally stop believing that singlehood is a stop along the way to happiness. This book is so heartfelt and helpful—for everyone, regardless of their relationship status.

Keturah Kendrick

Author of No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone 

Single At Heart: The Power, Freedom and Heart-filling Joy of Single Life brilliantly outlines what it means to NOT look at singlehood as an unpleasant illness that you just need a good partner to cure you of. Through countless personal stories and sociological research gleaned over ten years, DePaulo has drawn the fullest and most accurate portrait of ME I have ever read. Though I’ve written in the single and childfree by choice space for much of my 48 years, I’ve struggled to ground my writing in more than just my personal experiences. Thanks to Single at Heart, I now have the data to back up what I’ve always experienced as an undervalued lifestyle choice tainted with social stigma by the coupled and the single alike. Single At Heart astutely details how those of us who choose not to give into the cultural conditioning that marriage is, by default, the best way to do adulthood are forced to climb over structural obstacles that many refuse to admit are unjust and inequitable. This is the book I’ve waited for since I was 19 years old and longed for someone to assure me I wasn’t abnormal for not seeing marriage as a prize and romantic partnership as nirvana.

Jaclyn Geller

Author of Moving Past Marriage: Why We Should Ditch Marital Privilege, End Relationship-Status Discrimination, and Embrace Nonmarital History

Authors who question the marriage principle face the same question, even from sympathetic interviewers: aren’t there “hundreds of studies” proving that matrimony bolsters health and happiness? Not so much. Bella DePaulo has spent twenty years interrogating this claim — cutting through manipulated statistics and slipshod methodology like a hot knife through butter. She’s shown that marriage – and romantic coupling in general – offer no panaceas for health and contentment. DePaulo’s most personal monograph, Single at Heart continues her brilliant takedown of pop-psychology’s insistence on wedlock as a prophylactic against just about everything bad. This book goes deeper by exploring the benefits of living without a romantic partner as the epicenter of one’s life. Myriad men and women interviewed describe the benefits and pleasures: freedom to manage one’s time and finances; privacy; pursuing meaningful work; discarding convention in favor of a life based on conscious priorities; dedication to important causes; investment in community; commitment to “intentional” friendship networks that include cohabitation…the list goes on. Anyone who is immersed in the uncoupled life, who is somewhat single at heart, or who cares about someone single at heart must read this pathfinding book.

David Robson

Author of The Intelligence Trap and The Expectation Effect

We may be two decades into the 21st century, but it is still a “truth” universally acknowledged that any uncoupled person must be in search of a spouse. In Single at Heart, Bella DePaulo brilliantly dismantles this myth and explains why more and more people are choosing not to define their existence by the pursuit of romantic love.  I loved DePaolo’s mixture of hard data, compelling life stories and thoughtful writing. Whatever your current relationship status, you have to read this book

Rhaina Cohen

Author of The Other Significant Others

In Single At Heart, Bella DePaulo yet again proves herself to be a pivotal voice on the rights and lives of single people. For those who consider themselves “single at heart,” this book will be a haven, refuting the societal stereotypes that often undermine and undervalue the profound contentment that so many single people experience. To everyone else, DePaulo’s richly researched book will open their minds to the myriad ways we can find intimacy, care and fulfillment.

Lucy Meggeson

Host of Spinsterhood Reimagined podcast, London, UK

It’s hard to find the words to do this brilliant, brilliant book justice, but here goes anyway. The more I delved into Single At Heart, the more excited I felt, and the brighter the fire burned inside of me. Not only because I identify as single at heart myself, but because Bella’s incredibly thorough research makes it abundantly clear that a life of singledom can indeed be joyful, rich and, well, wonderful. This book is important, groundbreaking and full of hope and optimism for anyone who has ever questioned their love of being alone, or has felt stigmatised and excluded based on nothing more than their relationship status. But it’s not just for those of us who are single or single at heart. It’s for those who have pitied, shamed or patronised the people in their lives who have chosen a path that dares to defy the patriarchal norm. It’s also for societies, governments and people in positions of power – whilst we’re all so painfully aware, and sensitive towards, discrimination around race, gender, ethnicity, physical and mental disabilities, there is radio silence when it comes to the discrimination faced every day by single people; and Bella’s chapter on ‘The Resistance’ is in a league of its own. This book leaves the reader in no doubt that not only is being single perfectly ‘normal’, but for those who love it, (or learn to do so) it’s a life that brings richness, freedom, and opportunity like no other. With this book out in the world, I think we might see a whole new wave of both men and women who have finally been given the permission they need to step out of the shadows and into an authentic life on their own terms. In case you can’t tell, I more than loved this book. Everyone should read it. Thank you, Bella, so much.

Mandy Len Catron

Author of How to Fall in Love with Anyone

Bella DePaulo makes a powerful case for rethinking our assumptions about love, marriage and happiness. Her work is essential for anyone interested in imagining what an expansive, meaningful single life can look like.

Carrie Jenkins

Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, and author of What Love Is and What It Could Be and Sad Love

This book is a powerful and much-needed call out to the millions of people who are “single at heart:” single, that is, not by chance or lack of romantic luck, but because it is right for them. Bella DePaulo will never say it’s “OK to be single.” For her primary target audience, it is better to be single. And that is something her secondary target audience urgently needs to hear. That secondary audience consists of everyone who knows—or might come to know—a person who is single at heart. And that, of course, means everyone. It’s not good enough to keep saying we “didn’t mean any harm” with pointed questions like How can someone as lovely as you still be single? We need to read this book and educate ourselves.  



People featured in Single at Heart

Experts quoted in Single at Heart

About the Author

Bella DePaulo, PhD, is the leading expert on single life and has been described by The Atlantic as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.” Dr. DePaulo coined the term “Single at Heart” and gave a TEDx talk on the topic in 2017 and today the talk has had more than 1.6 million views. She is the author of Singled Out, The Psychology of Dexter, and How We Live Now, among other titles; has written the column “Living Single” for Psychology Today since 2008; and has been published by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, and other outlets, and been interviewed on shows including The Today Show, CNN American Morning, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, and Hardball with Chris Matthews. Dr. DePaulo has a BA from Vassar College and a PhD from Harvard University. After two decades as a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, Dr. DePaulo moved to the West Coast, where she is currently an academic affiliate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She lives in Summerland, CA.

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