myths about single people Articles

She’s 90, Has Always Been Single, and Would Do It All Over Again

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

shutterstock_97588136Starting in the early 1800s, some of the young women in the Guangdong section of China made a most unusual decision – they committed to staying single for the rest of their lives. They are called zishunuself-combed women. When they left their parents’ home, it was to work, not marry.


How Living Alone Will Transform Men

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

shutterstock_103445315Writings about single life – both popular and academic – focus overwhelmingly on women. Because marriage, traditionally, is supposed to be more important to women than to men, in theory more central to their identities and their happiness, single life should be especially problematic for women. Research begs to disagree about the happiness presumption, but no matter. Angst-filled writings about women living single continue to proliferate.

Alongside the tired old tales of those “poor” single women is a counter-narrative. It is one of strength, fulfillment, and independence. That story is often told of single women who live alone.


Now Featuring: The Woman Who Wanted to Live Alone and Die Alone

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

In a world awash with matrimania and the easy story lines it suggests, it is startling to find something, even in the most prestigious of publications, that dispenses with the romantic clichés and tells a whole different story. So it was with the short story in the July 7 &14, 2014 issue of the New Yorker.

The author is Allegra Goodman, perhaps my favorite short story writer. A previous story, “La Vita Nuova,” is a masterpiece. It is about a wedding dress, but it is not the story anyone else would write about that.


Don’t Marry Yourself. Period. – Guest Post by Terri Trespicio

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Terri Trespicio[Bella's intro: Probably about once a year, someone asks me what I think of the idea of marrying yourself. I've never written about the topic. Happily, the very insightful Terri Trespicio has some smart ideas on the matter, and I was delighted that she was willing to share them with "Single at Heart" readers. Thanks, Terri! By the way, Terri was featured on the cover of a Boston Magazine story, "Single by choice: Why more of us than ever before are happy to never get married."]


Kids of Same-Sex Couples Do Better; Therefore…

Friday, July 11th, 2014

shutterstock_1842365How many times have you read a story in the media claiming that the children of married parents do better than the children of single parents, and therefore people should get married before they have kids, or they should refrain from divorcing? The claim about the children of married parents doing better is often exaggerated, a misrepresentation of the actual findings, or just plain wrong, as I have shown repeatedly. Nonetheless, the myths continue to get perpetuated, along with the self-righteous advice.


Financial Vulnerability Is About More than Money

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

moneyDuring difficult economic times, many people are stressed about money, but single people are likely to be especially so. For well over a decade, I’ve been trying to promote consciousness-raising about single people and their lives. It is a challenge, trying to nudge a matrimaniacal society into recognizing that not everyone is part of a couple or even wants to be. But as the number of single people continues to grow, closing in on half of all of the adult population, that will change.

One way it changes is when writers and pundits and opinion-leaders have single people in their lives who are so important to them and so close to them that they just can’t ignore their issues anymore. So it was over at Forbes, when Nancy Anderson, in the second paragraph of her article, acknowledged that all of her adult sons were single.


Asexualities: First-Ever Collection of Scholarly Essays

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

scarfI first wrote about asexuality in 2009 after getting repeated requests to address the topic. At the time, there was very little scholarly research on the topic. Now, just five years later, a collection of scholarly essays on asexualities has been published – the first of its kind. Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives is edited by Karli June Cerankowski and Megan Milks.

I just found out about the book and I’ll have more to say about it after I’ve read it. For now, I want to let you know that the book is out there, and share some of what the authors had to say in an interview and how the publisher describes the book.


Here’s What Happens When You Taunt Single Women

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

sherowFor years, I have been railing about the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against single people that I call singlism. What bothers me is not just that it happens, but that the people who practice singlism do so without apology and often without any awareness that what they are doing is offensive.

Occasionally, though, those who try to stigmatize, stereotype, or shame single people actually get called on it. Here are two recent examples from the world of politics, one from Japan and the other from the U.S.


Quotes on Singlehood and Solitude

Friday, June 20th, 2014

ThoreauAs a scholar and practitioner of single life, I should probably be collecting great quips and quotes about singlehood and solitude. There are some classics, such as Mae West’s “Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”


The Husband Assumption

Monday, June 16th, 2014

phoneWhen I get phone calls from strangers, especially those particularly annoying ones from marketers who never should have called my number in the first place, I am often addressed as “Mrs. DePaulo.” I never let it slide. I always correct the caller, telling the person that I am not a “Mrs.” Sometimes I don’t stop there. I add that I’m single and I always have been and always will be and I like it that way.


 

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Recent Comments
  • jakebraekes: Alan, it’s my opinion. I have been to bright places and fine living alone and to dark places at...
  • Alan: “a dark prison”, good Lord are you depressed or something? When I go to bed at night I’m the...
  • Bella DePaulo, Ph.D: Yes, I think that’s a good point.
  • Emerson: My great aunt is almost 90, and she has also been single her whole life. We live in Australia though, but I...
  • Cameron: Many people could come up with movies that fit the bill. The beloved The Shawshank Redemption avoids the...
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