This Review of Singled Out, by Joe Walker, is What I Always Wished Someone Would Write

final Singled Out TP cover

[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!]

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Part 2: Getting Married Makes You Happier? Again, No

The_Science_of_Marri_Cover_for_Kindle, 2-28-15

[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 Here, I will critique the research (an unpublished working paper by Grover and Helliwell) that set off the latest round of matrimaniacal claims that we single people would be happier if only we would get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.

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Single Parents and Their Children: The Good News No One Ever Tells You

cover, single parents bookI 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.

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