Psych Central

Alone Together: Intimacy in Solitude

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Louise Sundararajan

Guest Post by Louise Sundararajan

[Bella’s intro: Last month, I wrote two posts about my favorite chapter from the new Handbook of Solitude, “Experiences of Solitude,” by James Averill and Louise Sundararajan. The posts were “6 psychological insights about solitude” and “20 varieties of solitude;” judging from the page views, readers seemed to greatly appreciate the topic. One reader, Alan, had an important observation: “I found it interesting that they included “intimacy”, I would never have thought of that as being a quality of solitude.” How can intimacy be a quality of solitude? I asked one of the chapter co-authors, Louise Sundararajan, if she would write a guest post on the topic, and I am delighted that she agreed.  Thanks, Louise! Below is what she wrote. At the end, you can read more about her.]

Continue reading… »



How Hero Pilot’s Wife Reacted When She Learned the Plane Had Crashed

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

candleWith that Malaysian Airlines flight still missing, I have been thinking about another flight that could have been catastrophic but wasn’t. It was five years ago when Captain Sully Sullenberger heroically achieved a dramatic landing of a plane that was in serious trouble. As the aftermath unfolded, we learned more about how various people reacted when the dramatic events were in progress.

Continue reading… »



Did You Do That Because You Are Single?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

floorOver the course of blogging for many years, particular people who participate in the discussions in the Comments section start to seem familiar to me, even if I’ve never met them. Once, when I got a personal email from one such person, I recognized the name and responded right away. She later told me that she was happy to hear from me so quickly, and mentioned that to someone else. That person’s interpretation? “She got back to you so quickly because she’s single.”

Continue reading… »



When Smart People Say Stupid Things About Single People

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

laptopOne of the most frustrating things about singlism – the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single – is that it is not just practiced by select portions of the population, say, those who practice racism or sexism or ageism or heterosexism or any of the other more familiar isms. Sadly, the sin of singlism knows no bounds. Smart, progressive people, cutting-edge publications, successful businesses – all of them, and more, practice singlism, usually without apology or even any awareness that there is anything to apologize for.

Continue reading… »



6 Weeks of Solitude — on Another Continent

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

feetOver the course of my research on innovative ways of living, one of the people I set my sights on interviewing was Karen Hester. I knew that she was one of those people called a “burning soul,” who was so passionate about living in a real, caring, committed community that she was one of the motivating forces in creating such a community. Together with several other single friends and some families, she did the years of work involved in making the Temescal Creek cohousing community happen.

Continue reading… »



The Real Juggling Act: Living Alone, Working Full Time, and Waiting for Repair and Service People to Show Up

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

waitingWhen I was living on the East Coast and looking to buy a home, one of the places I visited needed some work. “Oh, that should be no problem,” the person showing the home insisted – I could just stay home while the contractors and repair people came in and out during the day.

Well actually, no, I could not stay home. I had a job, including sometimes teaching an entire lecture hall full of students. I ran studies in my lab, attended faculty meetings, and did all of the other routine tasks that are part of the life of a college professor and that take place at the university, not in my personal living room.

As a single person living alone, I did not have a spouse or a roommate who could stay home and wait for repair people to show up, or to trade off with me in taking time away from the job.

So what are we supposed to do?

Continue reading… »



20 Varieties of Solitude

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

seniorIn my previous post, I shared 6 psychological insights about solitude from the chapter, “Experiences of solitude,” by James Averill and Louise Sundararajan. It was one of my favorite chapters in the just-published collection, The Handbook of Solitude.

I have thought a lot about solitude, but I didn’t fully realize just how many different experiences of solitude there are until reading the chapter. Twenty of them are listed and described below. Statistical analyses showed that the experiences clustered into five groups, with a few of the experiences not fitting clearly into just one of the groups. (Those are listed under “other experiences of solitude.”)

Continue reading… »



Lottery Winners: Are Married Women the Biggest Losers?

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

moneyI had planned to follow up my previous post, 6 psychological insights about solitude, with a related article about the 20 varieties of solitude. With the big jackpot in the news, though, I will instead make that my next post. I just looked up the available research and whether any of it could help us understand the psychology of lottery winners, and whether marital status matters. The most relevant study I could find does not include everything I would have liked, but it is based on quite a lot of data.

Continue reading… »



6 Psychological Insights about Solitude

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

windowPeople who are single-at-heart love the time they have to themselves. In fact, when thinking about spending time alone, just about all of them react with something like, “Ah, sweet solitude,” and almost none of them react with, “Oh, no, I might be lonely!”

With more and more people living single, and more and more people living alone, a better understanding of solitude is becoming increasingly important. Just recently, The Handbook of Solitude was published. I have a chapter in it, but in this post and the next I want to tell you about one of my favorite chapters, “Experiences of Solitude,” by James Averill and Louise Sundararajan. It is a chapter that acknowledges the potential negative experiences of solitude, such as loneliness and boredom, but has far more to say about what can make solitude so sweet.

Continue reading… »



5 Sweet Somethings for Singles: Enlightenment Is So Delicious!

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

boxI love chocolate, but do you know what I love even more? Smart, enlightening writings about single people and single life! Yesterday, to my surprise and delight, one story after another set aside the tired old Valentine’s Day stories about gooey-eyed couples and myths about the transformative powers of marriage and coupling, and instead told some truths – or, in some cases, they at least got close to some truths.

Considering that this is not the first time that the matrimaniacal holiday was inflected with a bit of singles savvy (here, for example), maybe we can start expecting something like this to continue into the future.

Here are some of the sweetest things I found online, or in my email inbox, over the past day or so:

Continue reading… »



 
 

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Raina: Just hire someone to be at your house and take care of the service people. What’s craigslist for,...
  • Kathy: The “time exchange” mentioned above might be a good way to acquire house sitting time when someone...
  • big box: For my opinion Big Box Storage can maintain their work properly.The most important thing is you can fine all...
  • Alan: I’d add that, with studies of this type, it’s probably important to report the range of results,...
  • dave: I agree with everything you said. I will be 40 in a few months and am in a similar situation. as for being the...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!