One of the longstanding sources of frustration and disappointment among advocacy-oriented unmarried Americans is that political candidates rarely address us or promise to fight for us, the way they so often vow to stand up for married couples and traditional families. In their campaign materials, candidates who are married with children like to boast about that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a candidate brag about not being married or not having kids, or even acknowledge their marital or parental status in their biographies, except perhaps for single mothers.
The number of single people has been growing for more than a half-century. Of all Americans who are unmarried, the biggest proportion of them, by far, are people who have never been married. Yet not much research has focused specifically on this group. Maybe that’s in part because the percentage of people who stayed single all their life has, in the past, been fairly small. But that may be changing.
[This article is co-authored – in alphabetical order – by Lisa Arnold, Rachel Buddeberg, Christina Campbell, and Bella DePaulo. We are cross-posting it on all of our blogs.]
“White privilege” and “male privilege” are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We’re talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.
I’ve just put together a collection of 65 of my writings on single life in a book called The Best of Single Life. I think these are some of my most empowering articles, making a strong positive and utterly undefensive case for single life as the good life. In the book, I explain what I think is best about single life, for those who are as enthusiastic about living single as I am, as well as for those who do not want to stay single, but do want to live their single lives to the fullest while they are single.
The Best of Single Life is available in paperback here and here, and as an ebook here. The book includes 8 sections:
- Why Singles Are Thriving – Despite All You’ve Heard to the Contrary
- Single Life: We Chose It
- Mocking Those ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists
- The Good Life and the Successful Life
- Savoring Our Solitude: Choosing to Spend Time Alone
- Valuing Our Relationships: Choosing to Spend Time with Others
- Sex and the Single Person: Have It Your Way – or Just Skip It
- Are We Missing Out by Being Single – or Are They?
Here’s a sampling of some of the 65 articles in the collection:
- 7 secrets of successful single people
- Who wrote the book of love? Happy single people
- Fear not: The advantages of people unafraid to be single
- Are single people more resilient than everyone else?
- Why aren’t married people any happier than singles? A Nobel Prize winner’s answer
- Wedding porn doesn’t turn us on: Age at first marriage has never been higher
- The last ‘why are you single’ list you will ever need
- Elements of the good life: Our list is too short
- Sweet solitude: The benefits it brings and the special strengths of the people who enjoy it
- The happy loner
- Best things about living alone – for people who mean it
- Single, no children: Who’s your family?
- If you are single, will you grow old alone? Results from 6 nations
- Who keeps siblings together when they become adults?
- Bigger, broader meanings of love and romance
- Getting married and getting sex (or not)
- Asexuals: Who are they and why are they important?
- Are monogamous relationships really better?
- 23 ways singles are better
- What you miss by doing what everyone else does
- Top 8 reasons not to marry
- Keeping marriage alive with affairs, asexuality, polyamory, and living apart
- How many married people wish they were single?
- The end of marriage
I hope you enjoy it! (You can find my other books here.)
Now that solo living is becoming increasingly popular around the world, we know much more about it than we did before. Below is what I have written on the topic so far. You may also want to take a look at the chapter on living alone in How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century.