Years ago, here in Santa Barbara, I went to a debate about same-sex marriage between Jonathan Rauch and Maggie Gallagher. Rauch, author of Gay marriage: Why it is good for gays, good for straights, and good for America, of course took the pro side. If the name Maggie Gallagher is, to you, an infamous one, then you already know that she opposes same-sex marriage.
As I remember the event, early on, Rauch posed a question to the audience: How many believe the government should simply get out of the marriage business? A fair number of hands went up. He said, in some polite way – forget about it; that will never happen.
I was delighted to discover another blogger making the case for fair treatment of singles, and even better, casting her arguments from an international perspective. The blogger is “Anne,” from a site I just discovered, Why Get Married? Her post was titled, Are Singles Discriminated Against?
A recent report suggests that the added cost of living solo, compared to living with a spouse or partner, is $388,059 over the course of a lifetime. The study was conducted in the UK. The economic disparity was calculated based on these considerations:
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.
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.
[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.