Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Why Are So Many Smart Women So Clueless About Single Life?

High-profile women such as Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski want us to "thrive" by defining our success by metrics other than money and power. But in their discussions of women, the only other metrics they come up with are marriage and parenting. Do they really mean to relegate the millions of single women with no kids to the dustbin of humanity? Read More

Casey Is The Prototype Woman.

I agree the best example of a woman for our times is
Casey Anthony!
Prior to the death of her daughter, she was living an
aimless existence at home with parents and a daughter she
detested. But after her bold decision, (And the hardships
imposed by it) she is now living in a higher state of life
then before! She has nice clothes, good surroundings ,
independance and admiration from many people. She now has
purpose. She is doing clearical work for attorneys and a
dective. She will soon rake in millions. All told she is
living a much better existence then before!

Yep, living the good life

except for the pesky fact that everyone knows she's a murderer.

Imagine if she'd felt comfortable choosing not to bring a child into the world that she didn't want? Wouldn't that be better?

Of course then she'd just be one of the many of us who haven't murdered anybody.

Weird how you'd single out Casey Anthony. I'd forgotten all about her and I certainly would rather think about her as a cautionary tale that supports Bella's writings instead of being used to flipantly and sarcastically deride them.

Maybe it's about meaning and legacy?

I'm happily married with no kids, but we've spent much of our married life apart. We don't plan on having kids, which I am probably going to have to defend until I'm obviously menopausal!
I think most people want to feel that their lives have had meaning and that they have brought something into the world that will live on after they have gone. The most common way to do this is kids, but it isn't the only way. Many people have built organizations, endowed funds for scholarships and research, donated art and property, etc. As for kids, each child is unique and will grow into an adult with their own values, talents, hopes, dreams, and goals, which may or may not be pleasing to their parents. To imply that any child has to develop into someone that will make their parents feel like their lives were meaningful in the absence of a fabulous career or other factors is, I think, unfair.

Children can't be your legacy

This may sound controversial, but children aren't your legacy nor can they be. Do people remember Einstein's parents or do they remember Einstein? If you want to leave something behind, do something you can leave behind. Reproducing is not it. You can't live your life through someone else, even if you are responsible for their existence. Otherwise, you're just a footnote.

If you really want to leave a legacy, write, paint, or endow a charity

I sure as heck couldn't tell you the names of Einstein's kids or what they did. Children are rarely a "legacy." Books, movies, art, or charitable foundations are. Vincent Van Gogh never married or had children, but he left a legacy of great art. Jane Austen never married or had children, but she left a legacy of books for us to enjoy. Mother Teresa never married or had children, but she left a legacy of philanthropy.

Maya Angelou left behind her poetry and autobiographies; I know she had a son but I couldn't tell you his name. But I, and many others, know and love "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings."

"Legacies" are what artists and philanthropists leave behind.

Terrific comment! I know

Terrific comment! I know many people who think that being a great parent is the most important thing in the world. Your statement suggests otherwise.


….“Damn! I’m so glad I didn’t forget to get married and have kids.”

The message is clear: No matter how much you love your job, or how ambitious you are, being a wife and mother is the most important and only “real” job for women. It’s the only one that counts…..

REALLY? You get all that from this one comment?

It's fairly well accepted that many men and women choose not to marry or have kids these days. I think THOSE stats are pretty clear. And if they do, it's often delayed, at least with well educated, higher earning individuals.

This woman happened to choose to have a big career AND a family. She was going through a big transition and quipped that she was glad she didn't forgo building intimate connections in lieu of her focus on work.

A different person might have said "man, I'm so glad I have my good friends" …she could have mentioned leaning on her religious community, or her close siblings, or her beloved mentor…she could have mentioned she was glad she had her same-sex lover to lean on for support…it just so happens this woman mentioned she has a husband and kids (her choice for an intimate connection to cultivate)…do we need to jump to negative broad social-political assumptions just because she mentioned marriage and kids as he preferred way to build connection? Come on now!

We need close, intimate connection with others, …especially when we are going through a difficult life transistion.

That's what I get from her comment.

I think the point was

a man wouldn't have said this upon the occasion of getting fired. He might have said the opposite...oh no, I've just lost my job, TOO BAD I GOT MARRIED AND HAVE KIDS...more mouths to feed. But, he more than likely wouldn't say that either, at least not out loud. Too politically incorrect.

A woman saying that is saying thank god she has somebody else to rely on. That's why we don't like it. That's why it is sad that we've fought so hard for equal rights only to watch women go back to hiding behind a husband.

The financial benefit of being married can't be denied, unless of course you're the woman who just wrote to Dear Abby this week claiming her husband was bankrupting the family. Usually though, it's better to have someone else to share the financial burden. I'd rather be single and bear that burden for myself, however, and I shouldn't be made to feel like there's something wrong with me because I choose to make it on my own. I recently read a bit of a blog on a men's rights group website and they were vilifying women for "predatory" behavior -- latching on to a man for financial reasons, but if you don't marry and choose to make it on your own, you're a fat old maid who can't "get a man." We really can't win and the hypocrisy is stunning.

Reading comments to these essays reminds me so much that we have a long way to go in the minds of a lot of people. Why is doing what everybody else does - mindlessly get married and bring more people into the world who will then mindlessly get married and bring more people into the world who will then mindlessly get married and bring more people into the world - better? My parents had me and as soon as I was old enough to understand informed me I was an "accident." So, I wasn't "deliberately" brought into the world; so, I want to be deliberate about my choices and my life. I want to do some things and accomplish some things and being single has helped me grow and accomplish and be the kind of person I can admire. I didn't want to marry somebody so I could be "married" and say "my husband" and act all smug and superior about something that most everybody does. If I ever marry, like Gloria Steinem, it will be because I met someone so extraordinary, I can't see being without that person . I haven't met that person and I refuse to settle. If it does happen though, I'll call him by his name.

That was deep, Happy Monkey.

Excellent post. It's funny how you can know a woman's husband personally (even before they got married), yet they still say "My Husband". I've always thought that was kind of silly.

I used to have a co-worker who was dating another guy in our office building. I might not have been sleeping with him like she was, but I did know him on a professional level. Once they got married, she stopped referring him by name and started saying "My husband" all the time. I laughed at her on the inside, because I know she had been desperate to use that phrase for a long time and she was enjoying her new found "prestigue".

Now it's 5 years later. She's miserable, having an affair and calling him "John" again.

Yes, membership has its benefits. But I think that the benefits of declining the membership are far greater... at least for me. :)


Confirming what we already know. I had a long talk with my aging mother yesterday. My mom is getting old. She declared, "If anything ever happens to me I want YOU to take care of me and handle things." This is interesting, because mom never really liked me, she likes my two siblings much more. However, my siblings are married and have kids. My mom has witnessed me handle several recent problems effortlessly for her. I've also set her up with some personal friendships which have turned out well and encouraged her to get involved with her community. She has a nice little life now.

She's also recently taken a dislike to my married siblings, who haven't been much use other than to milk her for money and attention. So the research is absolutely correct, 84% of single women do end up taking care of aging parents. It may not be because we have more time but because we may just be better at it and know what to do.

Unfortunately, the hard truth

Unfortunately, the hard truth is that a single women is of little use to anyone but herself.

Men who want sex and aging parents are the ones who need her, other than that,what's the point?

I guess that same for single men.

As for "career women", let's face it, most women executives are just tokens anyway, there's not real value coming out of the female workforce --- we didn't need women professionals to advance technology or business, they wanted to be in the game and men stepped aside for them.

I'm not saying that they need to be wives and mother's -- most are not marriage material anyway.

Back when marriage was the norm, women made themselves worthy of marriage by proving that they could be faithful, dependable, selfless partners.

Today's women are self-serving and sexually promiscuous not marriage worthy. Which is okay, unless that's what they wanted all along.

Unfortunately, the hard truth

Interestingly the same could be said of stay-at-home mothers. She's only of use to her husband and kids, besides them, who else needs her? The point is every single human being on this earth, rather a parent or not a parent, married or single, is of use to someone and has the power to touch and transform the lives of his/her community. To suggest otherwise is to dehumanize people and once you go down that path, you're a hop skip and a jump away from some pretty horrid outcomes.

But single women use their

But single women use their "touch" only to get what they want.

Most of them are hollow and shallow, they dehumanize themselves.

Its true they are only good

Its true they are only good for sex.

You can't be friends with a single woman because she will just accuse you of wanting sex. So, you either want sex from them or otherwise they serve no purpose.

AS for women professionals, frankly, they're just in the way.

Narrow view

I'm always stunned by the compartmentalization of women's lives into wife/mother and worker, as if there weren't any other aspects to life. I am not married, I do not have children, but I sure don't define myself by what I do to pay for the roof over my head. And I'm useful to my community! I help care for the many homeless animals in my community, and I help get them into good homes. My sewing room is currently cluttered with a giant project I'm working on with a friend for a fundraising event; last year our efforts brought in $1,500 and this year we're increasing our output. The organization we belong to has, through spay and neuter outreach, reduced euthanasia of healthy animals by 80% in my county.
In a few days I'm taking off on a bicycle tour for two weeks on my own, to visit friends I've made in faraway places. The exchange with these people has enriched my life immeasurably, and then there are the long days of cycling in solitude through some of the world's most beautiful scenery. I will arrive home refreshed and ready to work harder to help my community.
My life is amazing. When people try to reduce it to "but you're missing this or that" and feel sorry for me, it blows my mind. I feel sorry for them if they live within such narrow boundaries.

"Little use to anyone but herself"?

Same with us single men, from what you wrote. Additionally: "there's not real value coming out of the female workforce." No? Sooo, according to you some people are "of use," have value in the workforce and have a point to their existence; others of us, not so much.

Fascinating; are you planning on writing and publishing a full-blown manifesto on your philosophy? Might be tough to get it published, but *your struggle* may make for interesting reading, indeed.

In the meantime, your comment only underscores how important it is for Dr. Depaulo and others to champion singles' awareness.

You are either a beta male

You are either a beta male trying to ingratiate himself with women by defending their honor (won't work BTW)


You're a fat female.

I am defending *people's* honor when and where I can..

And people who know me on Facebook, such as one Ms. Calvert - who keeps a nice singles blog of her own, and who added me on fb - know this 'trying to ingratiate himself..' etc. is far from the case haha. I'd link to my page here, but I don't want a poor soul like yourself to feel too envious of my life. And if I'm dripping with attitude in my response here, so be it.

So then, you're a fat beta

So then, you're a fat beta male.

I got it.

Y'know, I'm going to change my mind, because I like you...

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the faux-"courageous" types who are really cowering behind their anonymity. Putting yourself our there for real isn't for scaredy-cats, after all! It's the whole Dungeons & Dragons thing where the player says "I'M A LEVEL-100 WARRIOR WHO'S SLAYED 1000 ORCS!" or whatever while carrying his pouch of 20-sided dice which he uses to play for endless hours in a basement. Haha.

So live vicariously through my page if you're inclined, but then get out their and improve your own life. You never know what you can accomplish if you turn around negativity, resentment and put your mind towards improvement. Go get 'em, tiger haha

I looked at your page and all

I looked at your page and all I saw was pictures of a car and a dork in a tee shirt.

Although I do think its impressive that you blew 1000 Orcs.

And you can't admit that I'm not a "fat beta" like you yourself confidently claimed..

...but that's alright: not everyone is cut out to actually admit they were *wrong*, certainly not you. That would require someone have the guts to also give their real identity like I just did. Continue being cocooned away in your anonymity - if I were that misogynistic and self-loathing, I'd do the same haha!

Ha - I get it

Very (not so) subtle, but it is actually the mass movement to decline marriage-and-childbearing which flirts with genocide. The article even mentions Japan and Europe as positive examples, even though those countries are extinguishing themselves. In that process, the replacement culture tends to be very pro-marriage. In that sense, the no-marriage movement always leads to a stronger pro-marriage culture.

HOWEVER, I don't fault anyone for declining to marry or have children themselves. It's a big deal and very personal. But hostility to marriage and long-term, good relationships harms everyone by creating vast pain and limiting human potential.

Do you actually mean genocide?

English may not be your first language so I'll cut you some slack. Genocide is DELIBERATE killing. I don't see how declining marriage will lead to people becoming homicidal. I also don't think that it follows that declining marriage will necessarily lead to a more pro-marriage culture.

If you're talking about people reproducing less and that leading to the collapse of the species then I can reassure you by simply saying that we don't need marriage to reproduce. There will always be people who can't have children and/or don't want to have children. There will always be people that have more than the replacement rate. I don't think an anti-marriage culture will have any problems reproducing itself because people who want children will have them. They just won't be married.

I'm hoping that the world-wide trend of less religiosity will save the world from the tyranny we're seeing in the middle east by Islam. And, what we're seeing here in the US from the far right wing of the republican party. They want a religious theocracy because they mistakenly believe that it will fix everything if we are just more pious. It will return us to the dark ages. They scream about freedom when all they want is to be free to impose their will on the rest of us. I won't be free under their system...only they will. I would like to see everyone free. We are seeing a backlash, yes. But returning to a more pro-marriage culture isn't a good thing. We're also seeing a backlash to women's freedoms with these MRA websites and more and more men openly bashing women and telling us we're bringing down the society. It is fear of change, pure and simple. I'm truly hoping the backlash to feminism calms down before it gets like the taliban.

Agreed. Half of all children

Agreed. Half of all children are conceived unplanned, so no worries about extinction on that front. Anyone interested in a cautionary tale regarding religious ity and rabid pronatalism should read Margaret Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale.

Sam Walton, for example

The message is clear: No matter how much you love your job, or how ambitious you are, being a wife and mother is the most important and only “real” job for women. It’s the only one that counts.

Apparently, several highly successful businessmen have declared late in their lives that each wished he'd made a higher priority of his relationship and family, rather than of work, career, or business. No one seems to take those declarations to demean or limit men, so why does Terri take Mika's similar declaration above so negatively? Is it not possible for Terri to learn from "so many smart women," who perhaps aren't so clueless, that having a good relationship, and perhaps starting a family, and giving it priority over work will lead to less regret? Terri seems to celebrate her own cluelessness to cover a deeper sense of failure or inadequacy. I think everyone would be better served by focusing on how to create good relationships, rather than on celebrating giving up on, or denigrating, what more experienced people say is more worthwhile. And it's never too late, Terri.

Why have the "relationship"?

As I read article upon article on Psychology Today, I see many of them focus on improving a "relationship", repairing a "relationship", fixing a "relationship", or deciding to leave a "relationship".

I wonder about all this adult energy spent ruminating on relationships. Don't we, as humans, have so many better things to do than all this worry about relationships? If we all spent less time worrying about relationships we could probably create world peace and feed all the hungry.

Please, people, you only live once. Don't waste your life trying to get along with people who don't want to get along with you.

I actually agree that family

I actually agree that family and relationships are more important than things and accomplishments. But let's remember that "family" and "relationships" can and do encompass more than a marriage or romantic relationships or the nuclear family.


 Don't we, as humans, have so many better things to do than all this worry about relationships?

No. We don't. That was my point. I guess you'll find out for yourself.

I agree that life shouldn't be wasted with people who don't want to get along with you. It doesn't follow that everyone should give up on having good relationships.

Nah, this business of the "relationships"is something the psych industry cooked up

50 years ago nobody would have thought to ruminate about relationships. 2 things happened in 1975, the divorce industry was born and so was the psych industry. We now have people willing to pay psychologists and counselors to fix their life and we also have people traumatized from getting divorced. 50 years later everybody is an expert about "relationships". These experts are telling us we relationships are paramount to everything else. Hopefully this fad will go out of style soon. The happiness fad seems to be fading too, and I definitely like the new creativity fad, where people concern themselves with projects and ideas, and worry less about relationship building.

If everyone would quit relying on everyone else for their happiness, self-esteem and self-worth we'd all be better for it.

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Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.


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