Lately, I’ve been discussing an email sent to me by a mental health professional that was full of stereotypes and other disparaging claims about single people. First, I described all those demeaning characterizations, and then, in my previous post, I began to draw from social science research to debunk those claims. There were so many false statements made by that person that it has taken me two posts to refute them. This is the second of the two.
I addressed the first four false claims last time. Here I’ll pick up with #5. I’m going to skip over the man’s suggestion that single people are barely human.
#5 THE FALSE CLAIM: Single people are unable to connect with other people “even in the smallest ways.”
WHAT THE RESEARCH ACTUALLY SAYS: Single people have more friends than married people do, and they do more to maintain their ties with their siblings, parents, friends, and neighbors than married people do.
#6 THE FALSE CLAIM: Single people do not have intimacy, do not have attachment, and do not have everyday social interactions with other people.
WHAT THE RESEARCH ACTUALLY SAYS: Single people have all three: they often have close relationships with other people (sex, too), they have genuine attachments to other people, and they are often more connected to other people in their everyday lives than married people are.
#7 THE FALSE CLAIM: Asexual people have no intimacy in their lives.
WHAT THE RESEARCH ACTUALLY SAYS: Intimacy is something bigger and broader than just sex. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, not a sexual dysfunction.
#8 THE FALSE CLAIM: Single and divorced parents are to blame for the problems of society and their children are criminals.
WHAT THE RESEARCH ACTUALLY SAYS: Many of the disparaging claims about single parents and their children are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. In fact, there are ways in which the children of single parents are doing remarkably well.
In the last of this four-part series, I describe why “It scares me when therapists have prejudices about marriage or single life and don’t even realize it.”