[Bella’s intro: Just weeks before my next book, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century, was about to launch, I received a review of my first non-academic book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, from Joe Walker, someone I don’t know but now greatly admire! I guess you could call that a biased opinion. Singled Out was first published in hardcover in 2006. Now, nine years later, here is the review I always wished someone would write. Joe Walker sent it to me in the form of a letter. I asked if I could publish it here and he agreed. Thanks, Joe!]
[This post was originally published at Psychology Today. I just discovered that it disappeared! I have no idea why, but I thought I’d just republish it at my own site where I have control over what appears and disappears.]
In my previous post, I explained why no study has ever shown definitively that getting married causes people to become happier – and no study ever will. Here, I will critique the research (an unpublished working paper by Grover and Helliwell) that set off the latest round of matrimaniacal claims that we single people would be happier if only we would get married. The claims the authors are making are unapologetically causal: They think their research shows that getting married causes people to become happier. It doesn’t. The very premise of their claim (that married people are happier, and we just need to figure out if marriage is causing married people’s greater happiness) is undermined by some of their own findings – not that you would have read much about those results in any of the many media stories gleefully declaring a win for Team Marriage.
It took me forever, but I’m finally on Twitter! The photo you see is what I’m using on my profile page (as well as my actual photo). On Twitter, I’m @belladepaulo and I’m looking for interesting people to follow.
I have been scrutinizing the research on single parents and their children for more than a decade. I’ve learned lots of things, but perhaps the most important one is this: all those predictions you hear about how the children of single parents are doomed are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong.
All sorts of people get in touch with me, hoping that I can put them in touch with other single people who want to live their single lives fully (and not just escape them). Others want me to point them to helpful resources. A few of the many examples are listed below in the next section, “What Are People Looking For?”
Every time I get one of those requests, I try to generate names or resources offhand. That’s not very efficient. Plus, I only know a very tiny fraction of the single people (or scholars of single people or professionals who work with single people) who might be interested in helping out or who might also want to be in touch with other single people (for friendship, discussion, workshops, or just about anything else except dating).
So, for anyone who is interested, I would like to start a Community of Single People. I want to know who you are so I can connect you with interested parties (as described below). Once the Community is launched, however, members who want to do more with the community can also use it in other ways (for example, to discuss on Facebook anything that interests them).