Archives for Marriage - Page 2

General

Are You Going to Be an Elder Orphan? Part 1: The Odds

Single people are accustomed to the scare story that they are going to die alone. Most have heard it so often that they have long ago realized its ridiculousness – marriage can't protect both spouses from dying alone unless they both die at the same time. So I guess it is time for a new threat to supplant the old one. It has arrived: We single people – especially those of us with no kids – are doomed to become "elder orphans" with no one to care for us when we grow old. According to this new variation, we are not just going to die alone, we are also going to age alone.

There are some serious issues here, so I don't just want to engage in mockery. But I do want to put the concerns in perspective, so that single people and people with no children are not needlessly put on the defensive once again, while those who are married with children feel reassured that they are just fine. And I also want to push back on those judgmental headlines, such as the one from Consumer Affairs declaring, "Free-living Baby Boomers at risk of becoming 'elderly orphans'".

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General

Beyond Happiness: What Single People Really Need

We are in the midst of one of those cultural moments when people who are happily single are getting some attention, and it is not all skeptical or mocking or grudging. In Spinster, Kate Bolick urged women to embrace "that in you which is independent and self-sufficient," even if you are not technically single. (I'd add that positive messages about single life should apply to men, too.)

Many an essay has leapt from the keyboards of readers of Spinster. I appreciate all those reverberating voices telling single people to embrace their singlehood. I've long been making the case that a single life can be a very happy and deeply meaningful life. I've also addressed, over and over again, the claims that getting married makes people happier. They are based on embarrassingly flawed studies and assumptions.

Yet I also value the notes of caution, such as Samhita Mukhopadhyay's article in the Nation warning that "celebrating your inner spinster" is not nearly sufficient if single people are to have the same opportunities for a good life as married people already do. Here, with some of my own embellishments, are some of the impediments she describes and some of the ways she thinks they can be transcended:

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Love & Affection

What If You Don’t Like Being Single? Guest Post by Kim Calvert

[Note from Bella: Sometimes I find that a topic I have been thinking about has already been addressed by someone else, in a particularly compelling way. That just happened with the ever-brilliant and insightful Kim Calvert. I've featured Kim's writing here previously, and I think readers will enjoy this contribution – which originally appeared at Singular City – just as much. Thanks, Kim!]
Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Being Single
Guest Post by Kim Calvert

Ever have the feeling that sometimes single people, particularly single women, get a little too much pleasure from the pain of being single?

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General

Is Single Motherhood Bad for Your Health? Why You Should Be Skeptical

In Singled Out, I debunked myths about single people. Many of my chapter titles make fun of specific myths and scare stories, such as this one: "Attention, Single Parents: Your Kids are Doomed." When it comes to single parenting, a lot of the singlist bashing is wrapped in a faux concern for the children. Poor things. They are being raised by single parents. They don't have that magical marriage in their lives.

The latest research is targeting single mothers. We are now told that they are doomed, too – to poorer health than those far superior mothers who are married. The basis of the claim seems, on the face of it, rather impressive – a study of more than 25,000 women from 15 different nations. The researchers documented who among the women had been a single mother before the age of 50 and then looked at their current health and functional abilities later, when they were over the age of 50. The first sentence of their conclusions, on the first page of their article, was used as the basis of headlines in stories that blanketed the media: "Single motherhood during early adulthood or mid-adulthood is associated with poorer health in later life."

The Today Show picked up on it, and if you read to the end of the article they posted on their website, you will find out just what they tell single mothers to do. Can you guess what it is? Oh, yeah – get married!

I'm here to tell you what you did not read in any (well, hardly any) other article or media spot about this study: (1) The sweeping conclusion – single moms have worse health later in life! – is not so sweeping at all. There are entire regions in which it is not true at all. (2) There are many factors, other than single parenting, that could account for the results. (3) The study did not – and could not – demonstrate that single parenting caused poorer health. Even when there does seem to be a statistical relationship between single parenting and worse health later on, single parenting may not actually be the key driving factor in the poorer health.

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General

What Do You Really Know About the Experience of Traveling Solo?

More than a decade ago, when I first started to study single life in earnest and not just live it, I took a look at how different groups and markets seemed to view single people. One of them was the travel industry, and wow, was I appalled. I found appeals written for the single traveler, but they all seemed to assume that people traveling on their own had just one goal – to come home coupled. Marketers touted all the eligible suitors the solo travelers might meet and all the wonderful social events on the schedule to bring them together. And if singles were charged far more for their reservations than couples, well too bad.

Today, much has changed for the better. There is no better chronicler of solo sojourners and their place in the contemporary travel industry than New York Times writer Stephanie Rosenbloom (also mentioned in previous posts here and here and here). In "Travel Industry Responds to Rise in Solo Sojourners," I found 5 fun facts that either surprised or delighted me. I'm presenting them in the form of quiz items. See how many you can get correct:

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General

Wall Street Journal Tells New PhD that a Wedding Is More Important

By now, you've probably seen the video of the white Georgia principal who forgot to give the valedictorian a chance to speak at the graduation ceremony. As people started to leave the auditorium (by some accounts, a white family was the first to leave), the principal said, in a snide tone, "Look who's leaving – all the Black people!" An uproar followed, in the room and then in the media.

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General

Tireless Advocate for Marriage Equality Now Wants Equality for Singles

I've been hoping this would happen for well over a decade. As I watched so many people put so much of their time and their effort and their heart into the quest for same-sex marriage rights, I wondered when some of those same people would realize what their triumphs would not accomplish. No matter how sweeping the victories ultimately are in the movement to legalize of same-sex marriage, people who do not marry – including people of all sexual orientations – are left out. Whether they are people who would like to marry but haven't found the right person, or people who proudly choose to be single, they remain second class citizens, excluded from the legal benefits and protections, and social status (misplaced, in my opinion) that comes from being officially married.

In what I hope will be one of many voices, a long-time advocate for marriage equality is speaking up. In the Boston Globe, James Lopata published an article titled, "Marriage equality is great. Now how about equality for singles?"

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General

‘Liberty is a Better Husband’ and Other Perspectives on Single Life

With Kate Bolick's Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own continuing to inspire conversations across the media, and encouraged by the interest in my review of the book here at Psych Central and in my post, 50 Shades of Single, I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes and insights from the book. And because Spinster does not include among the five inspirational figures from the past anyone who stayed single for life, I will also add a few words of wisdom from someone who did, Louisa May Alcott.

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General

10 Fun Facts about Spinsters

I think I know quite a lot about single people and single life. I've studied single people for many years and have practiced single life my whole life. But I learned a lot of new fun facts from Kate Bolick's new book, Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own. (I reviewed the book for Psych Central and also wrote about it in "50 shades of single".)

Here are a few of my favorite fun facts:

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General

How That Shocking Episode of Grey’s Can Turn Out to Be the Most Affirming

[Spoiler alert: If you have not seen or heard about the April 23, 2015 episode of Grey's Anatomy, there will be spoilers ahead.]

I'm not such a devoted TV fan that I track the time left on my favorite characters' contracts, but if I had, I would have realized why the recent episode that has repeatedly been described as "shocking" was even more shocking to those in the know. Patrick Dempsey, who played Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, had another year left on his contract, but now we know he's gone after 11 seasons. He got killed off at the end of last week's dramatic episode.

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