Archives for Singlehood

How we live now

Getting Married Won’t Cure What Ails You

Getting married, we are told, will cure what ails us. Not happy enough? Get married and you will get happier. Want to be healthier? Getting married makes that magically happen, too. Getting married, the prevailing narrative insists, will integrate us into society like single life never could. It will lengthen our lives, too. The act of marrying is presented as some sort of magic potion of yore, one of those mysterious cure-all concoctions with unknown ingredients. It still stuns me, that in this age of skepticism and sophistication, these kinds of claims are so widely disseminated and uncritically accepted. But they are. I’ve debunked the claims about the supposedly transformative power of getting married so many times before that I won’t belabor the issues here. I’ll just mention a few key problems, refer you to more extended discussions elsewhere, then get to the point I want to make here, about why we are pelted so incessantly with such misleading claims. About what is says about the real place of marriage in our lives.
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General

Two of the Profound Rewards of Staying Single

Do you like your single life? Settle into it. Research suggests that it can be rewarding in ways you rarely hear about. There's a lot of angst these days about the growing numbers of people living single, and especially about young adults who routinely reach the age of 30 without ever having married. By one respectable estimate, one out of every four of today's young adults will reach 50 as a lifelong single person. Many of their parents are freaking out. Some of the young adults who want to marry are also on edge. My hope for all of us is that we get to pursue the life paths we want, whatever they may be. But I think we have an overly anxious and pessimistic view of lifelong singlehood, and I say that based on data. There is not nearly as much research as there should be on single life, and not all of it is as up-to-date as I would like, but there are some telling findings.
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Marriage

Why Are You Showing Me that Picture with Your Spouse?

"I'm a proud husband, father," declared a local candidate for office. After his name, it was the first thing he said about himself in his official statement published in the Voter Information Pamphlet I was studying. His website and television ads are filled with marriage and family iconography. There he is with his wife. Here he is with his kids. There he is with his wife and kids. What is he trying to tell me with this information and this imagery? Is it just a basic statement of something about him? That sounds reasonable enough, but then why does it have such a salient place in his campaign materials?
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Love & Affection

Why Is Time Magazine Shaming Single People and Their Children?

Time magazine, it seems, cannot get enough of telling single people and their children that they are just not as good as married people and theirs. Sometimes Time seems to be in the marriage-promotion business, peddling ideology rather than reporting. Most disturbingly, it does so under the guise of telling us what science has supposedly shown. On those rare occasions when a Time article on marriage lets in a dissenting voice, that voice gets trampled by the end. Time is on the side of married people and their families. I think it always has been.
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Love & Affection

Single Women and Terrorists: Enduring Legacy of that Awful Newsweek Story

Thirty years ago, in June of 1986, Newsweek published that infamous article that lit up the media and conversations everywhere, even before social media was there to help. It was about how women who had reached the age of 40 and were still single were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to ever marry. Twenty years later, Newsweek retracted their scare story. In doing so, they engaged in even more stereotyping and stigmatizing of single women, telling them with one example after another that no matter what they had achieved or how meaningful they thought their life was, it just wasn't as worthy as it would have been if they just got married.
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General

Taiwan’s New President Disparaged for Being Single: Guess What Happened Next

For the first time ever, the President of Taiwan is a woman. The 59-year old Tsai Ing-wen is also single. That did not sit well with a Chinese military official, who believed that her single status rendered her "erratic": "As a single female politician, Tsai Ing-wen does not have the emotional burden of love of 'family' or children, so her political style and strategies are displayed to be more emotional, personal and extreme."
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General

More Young Adults Are Living with Parents Than Partners, But Another Trend Is Even More Significant

Perhaps you've seen the headlines from the latest Pew Report. For the first time since at least as far back as 1880, more young adults are living with their parents than in any other arrangement. For well over a century, up until now, the most popular way to live among 18- to 34-year olds had been to live with a spouse or partner.

The report highlights data from 1880, 1940,...
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General

Let’s Talk about Brain Health and Brain Illness Instead of Mental Health and Mental Illness

Getting mental illnesses taken as seriously as physical ones has been a long-lasting struggle. Medical insurance hasn't always covered mental health treatments the way it routinely covers treatments for physical problems. And too often, uninformed laypersons assume that seriously depressed people, for example, should be able to just snap out of it. In part because of the assumption that mental health is under our conscious control in a way that physical health is not, people suffering from mental health problems are more likely to be stigmatized. And that stigma, in turn, can stand in the way of seeking the help that is needed.
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