Archives for Marriage

Love & Affection

The Dark Side of the Focus on Families: A View from Australia

[Bella’s intro: As an American, I’m used to hearing lots of family talk, especially from political candidates. One after another, they promise to help families. But when their focus is so much on families, what does that mean for people who are single and living alone? I learned recently from Louise Harper that there is similar family talk in Australia. She, too, wonders about the dark side and sent a letter to an Australian newspaper about that. I asked if I could publish it here and she said yes. Thank-you, Louise Harper, for sharing these important observations with us.]
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General

20 Reasons to Celebrate Unmarried and Single Americans Week

The third full week of September, September 18-24, is National Singles Week (more formally known as Unmarried and Single Americans Week). In some ways, this has been a good year for insightful and enlightening stories about single people. In fact, just yesterday (September 17, 2016), Fusion published “Meet the people who want to be single forever.” Earlier, New York magazine gave us “The new science of single people” and a story in the Huffington Post, “Research says single people – wait for it – live rich, meaningful lives,” was shared on Facebook more than 50,000 times. Over at the TED blog, readers learned about “The price of being single.”
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Love & Affection

What We Get Wrong about the Attachment Relationships of Single People

Americans share many beliefs about single people, and just about all of the negative ones turn out to be wrong. They are stereotypes, not facts. So sure are we about our disparagement of single people that we actually use the negative words and phrases as synonyms for single people, as if they were neutral and factual. People describe single people as “alone” and “unattached.” They say that single people “don’t have anyone,” as if the only kind of person who counts as someone is a spouse. In fact, though, the evidence shows that single people are more connected to others than married people are. They maintain their ties with friends, siblings, parents, and neighbors. It is the people who get married who become more insular. In a comment on an article I wrote debunking stereotypes of single people, a reader said he thought that lots of single people actually did have attachment issues – that wasn’t just a stereotype. He said that many of his single friends had avoidant attachment styles.
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General

Singlism: From the Subtle to the Shocking

I wish I could say that it is hard to find examples of singlism – the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against single people. Unfortunately, singlism is relentless. It ranges from the subtle to the shocking. And it is often practiced unselfconsciously even by respected intellectuals and ordinary people who pride themselves on being open-minded and totally untainted by prejudice.
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Love & Affection

Invisible Ink: Why Do Writings about Single Life Disappear from Our Awareness?

Shortly after the publication of a new and much-acclaimed book about single women, an article in the Washington Post led with the headline, “Finally, a book that says single ladies are doing just fine.” The Week magazine, a publication that compiles in its book review section excerpts from a variety of writings, began its commentary on that book with a quote from the same article: “Finally—finally!” someone has written a big book about single women that “doesn’t tell us we’re doing it all wrong.”
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Love & Affection

Beware, Friends and Family of Single People: Singlism Is Contagious

There are so many ways in which single people are treated like they are not as important as married or coupled people. I coined the term “singlism” to refer to the stereotyping, stigmatizing, marginalizing, and discrimination against people who are not married. Singlism seems to be contagious. It affects not just single people, but the important people in their lives, especially if those people are not romantic partners.
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Marriage

What All Unmarried People Should Say about Themselves

Guest Post by Kim Calvert [Bella’s intro: I’ve been studying single life for a long time, and practicing it even longer, so I know the kinds of questions that people have about singles. Often the questions are about the ways in which unmarried people differ from each other. Shouldn’t we be looking separately, I am asked, at single men and single women? Longtime single people versus newly single? Rich versus poor, living alone versus with others, and every other distinction you can possibly imagine. For research purposes, the answer is yes. It is important to understand the many shades and complexities of single people. But in this important guest contribution, the very wise Kim Calvert makes a different argument.
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