Archives for myths about single people - Page 2

General

Single? It Should Be Your Right, But It Isn’t

Are you single and dreading the holidays, or any of the other days of your life, because of the way other people perceive you and treat you? Do you just know they are going to be asking you why you are still single (even if you like being single and have made that clear!)? Are they already assuming that you can cover for the others at work because, in their stereotype-addled minds, you don't have anyone and you don't have a life? Do you already feel like a second-class citizen because of all of the benefits, perks, and protections you don't get but married people do simply because they are married?

The problem is, you really are a second class citizen. You shouldn't be. You should have a right to be single that is equivalent to the right to be married.

Continue Reading

General

Why Alone Is Not the Same as Lonely

With more and more people living single and living alone, and so much hand-wringing about loneliness, it has never been more important to understand the difference between the kind of aloneness that people seek out and savor (not loneliness) and the kind of aloneness that hurts (loneliness). That's what I talked about when Peace Talks Radio asked me to participate in their special show, "Considering Loneliness." Other participants were the scholars Louise Hawkley and Steven Asher, and the psychotherapist Robert Thompson. I've copied the transcript of my part of the conversation below (and added some links and such). You can find the complete transcript here or you can listen to the entire show here.

Continue Reading

General

What Is the Opposite of Loneliness?

On the eve of her graduation from Yale, Marina Keegan wrote an essay that, within about a week, would be read by well over a million people from 98 nations. It was called "The Opposite of Loneliness."

But what is the opposite of loneliness? Keegan opened her essay by noting that we don't have a word for it, but whatever it is, she found it at Yale:

Continue Reading

General

Loneliness: Change Your Story about Them, About You. Guest Post by Tricia Parker

[Bella's intro: Marina Keegan's collection of brilliant essays and stories is called "The Opposite of Loneliness." But what is the opposite of loneliness? I had some unconventional ideas about that, and wanted to know what the members of the Community of Single People thought. Tricia Parker responded with such compelling ideas that I asked her if she would develop them into a guest post for this blog. Thank-you, Tricia, for saying yes! I've set in italics the parts I love the most. In a subsequent post, I'll offer my answer to the question about the opposite of loneliness.]

Continue Reading

General

Are Ambivalent Marriages Good for Your Health?

Five years ago, when New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope wrote about marriage and health, she admitted something important: “The mere fact of being married, it seems, isn’t enough to protect your health.” She then went on to ask whether a good marriage is good for your health. As I explained in my previous post, no one has ever answered that question adequately, because no study has ever included the appropriate comparison group.

Now Parker-Pope wants to know about the health implications of ambivalent marriages, in which partners interact with each other in plenty of negative as well as positive ways. Rather than starting with the same significant acknowledgment that the mere fact of being married does not protect your health, she backslides to this exaggerated and misleading claim that there is a "marriage benefit": "the well-established notion that married people are, overall, far healthier and live longer than the unmarried." Well established? Well, yes, among the methodologically unsophisticated, the marriage apologists, and the cheerleaders for conventional wisdom.

Continue Reading

General

Good Marriages: Are They Good for Your Health?

Some people, including writers for the prestigious New York Times as well as some academics who should know better, insist that getting married is good for your health. They think the research is clear. It isn't. In fact, as I've explained in Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong (as well as in the shorter version, The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn't So), no study has ever definitively shown that getting married makes people healthier or happier or causes them to live longer.

When researchers look for evidence that getting married makes people healthier and don't find it, they don't stop there. They zero in on particular kinds of marriages. For example, they might ask if good marriages are good for your health. That's what New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope asked a few years ago. I critiqued her article at the time, and I'm sharing that here (with some updates).

Continue Reading

General

Why Were So Many People So Drawn to a Story of a Man Who Died Alone?

The New York Times published a very long story about a man who died totally alone in his New York apartment, undiscovered until the smell of his rotting body motivated a neighbor to call 911. Readers could not get enough of it. They flocked to it in droves, commented on it, tweeted it, and shared it.

I described the story, and what bothered me about it, elsewhere. Here I want to address a different set of questions. Why did the Times devote so much space to this particular story, and why were readers so drawn to it? Why now?

Continue Reading

How we live now

Does Marriage Take More Than It Gives?

What does marriage contribute to social ties between people, the building of community, and the provision of care? For the couple within the marriage, it should, ideally, give a lot. If the marriage is good, the couple has a strong connection with each other, and they should also be able to count on each other for care when they need it.

For all the connection and caring that marriage takes for itself – that is, for the two people within the marriage – what does marriage give back to people outside the marriage? Once people marry, do they become even more connected to the important people in their lives (such as parents and siblings and friends)? Do they become more connected in ways that build community, such as by maintaining more contact with neighbors and exchanging more help with them?

Continue Reading

General

Home Alone: What the Gilmore Girls Got Right

I never watched the Gilmore Girls when new episodes were airing. Only in the past year or so have I been watching some of the episodes on Netflix. So far, there has been a lot to like about the show for someone like me who is not interested in programs that place trite matrimaniacal plots at their core. Sure, there is some coupling and crushes and near-miss weddings, but that's not the heart or soul of the Gilmore Girls.

Continue Reading

General

The Capacity for Separation, And Not Just Attachment, Is Significant: Guest Post by Karen L. Smith

[Bella's intro: Welcome to guest blogger and psychotherapist Karen L. Smith. In this article, she explains the importance of the capacity to be separate from other people, as well as the more widely-recognized significance of being attached. She knows how much singlism is out there, and how much some people complain about single life,  yet, as she notes below, "when folks are in a relationship, they spend a fair amount of time in therapy distressed...
Continue Reading