Mania Over Today’s Matrimony: Top Critiques [Updated]

[Originally, the subtitle of this post was “Top 2 Critiques.” But comments posted over at Living Single have been terrific, and so some new critiques deserve to be added. You can find them at the end.]

My most recent post over at Living Single celebrates many people who are not getting married today. Here I want to continue the festivities by tossing a bouquet of respect and admiration to those savvy scribes who have said something smart about the topic. No cloying sentimentality, no predictable plaudits, no breathless guessing about who’s in and who’s out.

Here are excerpts from my two favorites.

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Get Married, Retire Happy?

Singlism alert! Thanks to Jeanine and Peggy for this one. At Yahoo, by way of US News & World Report, we learn this “secret” to attaining bliss after you’re done working for pay: “married or cohabiting couples are more likely than singles to be happy in retirement.”

I can’t find the original report, and I always like to read the original. Nonetheless, this looks easy enough to take on. Does this finding (assuming it is reported accurately) mean that if you get married, you are more likely to be happy in your retirement?

Anyone who has read Singled Out – and not only those readers – can figure out the answer. It is “no.” The study is not counting everyone who ever got married. The researchers are taking all of the people who got married then got divorced or became widowed, and setting them aside or adding them into the singles group. So if you remove at least 43% of the people who ever got married from the married group, then you can say that getting married means that you will be happier in retirement. Note that all singles are included in the singles group, not just the happiest ones.

Thanks for letting us in on the secret, you Yahoo.

UK Couples Want Better Treatment of Singles

Readers have been alerting me to the new UK study that calculated the extra money it costs to live solo compared to living as a couple. I’ll get to that topic in a later post. As is my custom, I went to the original report to see what it actually did say, and discovered some other findings that surprised and impressed me. So far as I can tell, they have not made it into the media.

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Oh, No, They Didn’t! Unsolicited Advice and Product-Promotions for Singles



[This is cross-posted from Living Single, with an added note at the end, thanks to a great reader comment.]

[More evidence that your blogger is technologically-challenged: I don’t know why the format is weird after you click “read the rest of this entry.” I’ll try to get it fixed.]

I just realized that my post office box and e-mail inbox contain the makings of a short course (as brief as this one post) on stereotypes and misperceptions of people who are single.  The pitches I receive from publicists and from people pitching their own products capture a lot about the reign of singlism in contemporary society.

Plenty of people discover this one thing about me – I write this Living Single column for Psychology Today. Then, without thinking they need to read a single word of any of my posts, nor a sampling of anything else I’ve ever written, they are sure they know what would interest the readers of my blog on single life.

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Is the Socially Isolated American a Myth? So Many Important Responses

Recently at Psychology Today, I asked, “Are Americans becoming more and more isolated?” So many thoughtful comments were posted there and emailed to me that I thought I’d rewrite the post with those in mind. Instead, though, I’ll just summarize the original post briefly (you can read the whole thing here) so I can get to readers’ comments more quickly. I won’t get to all of the points (or at least not in this post), so let me thank JSS, Alan, UpperWorks, Anony-mouse, Psyngle, Lauri, Deb01, and everyone who emailed me for taking the time to share your observations.

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Comment Posted on the Fatherhood Channel [UPDATED]

[UPDATE:  This post was previously titled, “Fatherhood Channel Suppressed This Comment.” I have since heard from someone at the site, and he has posted a comment here, and also posted my comment, with my permission, where I was trying to submit it. I believe him that this was some technical glitch, and I apologize.]

Previously at my Living Single blog at Psychology Today, I wrote about media coverage of marriage and relationship education programs. In short, the enthusiasm of the claims has been barely restrained by the actual results of scientific research. (See here and here and here.)

At first, I was happy to see that the PAIRS Foundation, posting as part of the Fatherhood Channel, wrote about my success at getting NPR to take notice of the exaggerations it had aired. While doing so, though, it continued to perpetuate some of the same myths. It also guessed wrong about my background. They seem to think I offer therapy and that their classes would be a threat to my livelihood.  I’m not a therapist or any other sort of clinical psychologist (I’m a research psychologist), so my criticisms of their misleading claims have nothing to do with that.

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