Where in the World Do People Live Alone?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

stockholmOne of the most significant demographic revolutions has been the dramatic rise in the number of people who live alone. It is a phenomenon that is not limited to Western nations.

In their academic book, Living Alone: Globalization, Identity and Belonging, Lynn Jamieson and Roona Simpson offer the most comprehensive review and analysis of solo living to date. Just about every aspect of solo living that I have been discussing here and elsewhere for so long – and some other topics as well – get attention in the book.

Many writings on solo living focus on the US, but Jamieson and Simpson’s perspective reaches around the globe. In an early chapter on geographies of living alone, the authors provide a table showing the popularity of 1-person households in 42 nations. Data, when available, are presented for 1950, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.

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Quotes on Singlehood and Solitude

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

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.”

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The Husband Assumption

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

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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Required to Hear False Information – and Pay for It – in Order to Divorce?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

bunnyStarting later this year, if you want to get a divorce in Oklahoma and you have kids younger than 18, you are going to have to take a course first, and pay for it yourself. Among the topics to be included in the course is “the effects divorce has on a child’s well-being.”

My guess is that Oklahomans are being forced to pay for propaganda. For many years, I have been scrutinizing claims about the supposed effects of divorce on children, and the implications for children of single parenting. Wildly exaggerated claims and misrepresentations of the actual data are rampant.

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Singlism in Finland Is Causing a Stir

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

helsinkiEarlier this week, a top political leader in Finland declared that people who live alone are targets of unfair taxes, fees, and housing costs. The laws, she noted, are unjust.

To all of the millions and millions of solo-dwellers living somewhere other than Finland, take a moment and allow yourself some vicarious savoring. Imagine that in other countries, too, political leaders might begin to take seriously the financial challenges of people who are single, especially those singles who are living alone.

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Pros and Cons of Singledom: Guest Post by Paula Coston

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Paula_Coston[Bella’s intro: I recently discovered UK singles blogger and author Paula Coston. One of her posts included a set of pros and cons about single life that I found particularly clever, so I asked if I could share some of them here. Happily, she agreed. Thanks, Paula! Readers, please contribute your witty pairs of pros and cons.]

From Paula Coston: I’m a British female singleton, 59 and childless.

Some cons and pros of singledom, as I see them.

Con: I talk to myself.

Pro: I make more sense than most people.

 

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Getting Suckered by a Killer

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

policeHow many people must that mass murderer have fooled about who he was and what he was about to do before he went on a rampage and killed six people and injured many more? It happened just outside of the campus of UC Santa Barbara, the university I’ve been associated with for nearly 14 years.

I have to admit that when I heard that law enforcement personnel (four sheriff’s deputies, a police officer, and a dispatcher) had been sent to talk to the killer less than a month before his killing spree, my jaw dropped. The killer’s mother and therapist had both become disturbed by the videos he had been posting, and contacted the police to ask them to check up on him.

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Walking Your Way to Creativity

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

walking_dogJust about every day, I take a break from whatever I am doing and head out to one of the many trails in Santa Barbara. This is southern California, so it is often warm and sunny. That alone makes most of these exercise breaks pleasant experiences. They’ve always seemed good in other ways, too. I usually don’t go hiking with the intent of thinking some more about whatever I’ve been working on, but often that’s what happens – I do end up thinking some more, and, more importantly, along different lines than I had been when I was sitting in front of my computer.

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Feminist Biology and Matrimaniacal Psychology

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

scientistMake Room for Singles in Teaching and Research” (also available here) was the title of an article I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education, together with sociologist Kay Trimberger and law professor (and now Dean of UCLA Law School) Rachel Moran. When the Chronicle published the article, it was in a special issue on diversity.

I think that was apt. We need a singles perspective in academia in the same way we need the perspectives of other groups such as women and people of color. Without these different points of view, we end up asking a limited set of questions and coming up with a narrow set of predictable answers. We miss some things entirely and see too much of other things.

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When One Wedding Is Not Enough

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

cfdWhen writers of movies and TV shows want to reach for an easy plot line, they all come up with the same sort of answer – a marriage proposal, a wedding, or some other tired old form of matrimania. It doesn’t matter what the genre is – comedies, dramas, crime procedurals, even sporting events and newscasts, not to even mention the reality shows that at least have the decency to announce that they are about marriage proposals; somehow matrimania will rear its boring, predictable head.

Now something else is happening.

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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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