Archives for Love & Affection

General

College Love Stories, Reimagined

I went to Vassar College because a friend of my father's, knowing that I had good grades, told him I should apply there. At the time, I had never heard of it. Neither had my dad.

I grew up in the tiny town of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, outside of Scranton. Once I realized that Vassar was an elite school, I was a bit embarrassed to have tried for admission. About a month after I applied, my high school guidance counselor asked if I had heard anything back yet. I said I hadn't, and didn't really expect any good news. To which she replied, "Oh, honey, you shouldn't feel that way. In 1933, a girl from this school applied to Smith, and she got in."

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General

If You Are Single with No Kids, Who Is Your Family?

Today in the U.S., it is just about as ordinary to be single as to be married. There are 107 million unmarried Americans who are 18 or older; if you start counting at 16, singles have outnumbered married people for years. Alongside the steady and remarkable increase in the number of single people is another striking development – the rise of people who never do raise any kids.

If you are single and you have no kids, who is your family? Do you even have one?

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General

Marriage Is Over, and Not Just in Iceland

Iceland, it seems, is done with marriage. So says CNN in the article, "Is marriage outdated in Iceland?" My inbox is filling up with "did-you-see-this" emails and the article has already been posted several times in the Community of Single People. For good reason. Icelanders are not just forsaking marriage, they also seem to be remarkably free of stigma and shaming when it comes to people who are single, perhaps especially single parents.

Americans, in contrast, are getting married much more often than Scandinavians. (Sometimes the same people in the U.S. do it over and over again). In our land, matrimania and singlism are rampant.

But here's the thing. Even in the U.S., the end of marriage has come. Let me share my favorite rant on this topic:

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Love & Affection

My Single Life: What Hurt Wasn’t Loneliness, But Getting Left Out

So far as I can tell, one of the most-read articles I've ever written was "I've been single all my life. I rarely get lonely." I can't take credit for the idea of writing about my own (rare) experiences of loneliness. The editor of the Washington Post Solo-ish column suggested it.

Although I rarely experience the loneliness that other people expect to be a big part of single life, I have experienced painful moments that I do attribute to being single. Those moments are not about being lonely but being excluded.

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General

My Personal Life and My Research Life

When my article, "Families of Choice Are Remaking America," was published at Nautilus, I was invited to answer some questions for the Nautilus blog. One of the questions was, "Has your personal experience informed or guided your research? How so?"

It is a question that means something different now than it once did. There was a time when many researchers believed that their personal lives should be separate from their research lives, otherwise their objectivity would be compromised. Now, it seems silly to think that your own life experiences would not inform your research. What matters is meeting the highest scientific standards in designing and interpreting your research.

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How we live now

What Single Life Gives Us And What It Costs

Whenever an important new book about single life is published, I like to pick out some important quotes or quips or facts to share. For example, one of my posts about Kate Bolick's Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own was "10 fun facts about spinsters" and one of the articles I wrote to mark the publication of Eric Klinenberg's Going Solo was "Living alone: 12 things you didn't know." Now, with the publication of Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies, here are some points from the book about what single life gives us and what it costs.

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General

A Fabulous New Book, and ‘Singled Out,’ a Book that Made Many of the Same Important Points

I just wrote a rave review that will be published here at Psych Central in the coming weeks. It begins like this: "Some books are not just books, they are events. Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation is among them." For making a compelling case for single women's role in some of the most significant progressive achievements in the nation, Traister deserves all...
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General

Are Friends the New Family?

As the number of single people continues to grow, many are worried. They fear that America is becoming a nation of isolates. In the US today, there are more households comprised of single people living alone than families of mom, dad, and the kids. Nuclear families, according to some worldviews, are the very foundation of civilization. Actually, they are not, and never have been; but still, the anxiety is rampant.

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