What’s Wrong with the Claim that 90% of Married People Say They’d Marry Their Spouse Again?

A PT blogger recently seemed quite impressed with a CBS poll showing that 90% of currently married Americans said that they would marry their spouse again. He called those results "remarkable." He titled his post, "And they lived happily ever after." PT featured this question from him at the top of the blogger page: "Would you remarry your spouse?"So what's wrong with that? 

Even More Than Single Life, This Is About Authenticity and Choice

My most basic wish is that you can acknowledge to yourself how you would most like to lead your life, and then pursue that path that is most meaningful to you. Secondarily, if you are up for it, I hope you will admit to the life that works for you. The latter is more difficult, because too many people are stuck in mental ruts when it comes to thinking about the ways to live a full and meaningful life, and they will let their disapproval show. But if you can stand up for your life choices, especially when they are not the most conventional ones, then you will have stood up for everyone else who thought they were alone and could not say (for example) that they like their single life just fine. 

TNR Asks: Why Assume Marriage Is Better Than Single Life?

One step forward and two steps back. Forward: The New Republic asks, Why assume that marriage is better? Backwards Step 1: CNN describes single women as "stomp[ing] their feet in defiance." Backwards Step 2: Smartmarriages, referring to a book telling single women to "marry him", tells all their listserv members, "Buy [it] for all of the single ladies in your life." Because, of course, married people know best, and one of the things they are sure they know about singles is that we all want to be married. 

From More Magazine: Single and Loving It

More magazine calls itself the place "for women of style and substance" and "smart talk for smart women." Look at the cover of the most recent issue (March 2010) and you will find this boldfaced tease: "SINGLE AND LOVING IT: No ring, No regrets."  

Super Smart But Wrong About Singles

Nancy Folbre is a brilliant economist. But in a recent post to the New York Times blog, Economix, she said, "Women who don't marry or have kids earn about the same as men with the same qualifications. Going without a family life seems a rather steep price to pay for equality." Fortunately, three of the first ten readers to comment have already called her on it. 

Is It Okay to Have a Couples-Only Club?

A meet-up group is recruiting couples only. Proof of coupled status is required and the announcement explicitly says, "No singles, SWINGERS, or business solicitation." Is this okay? 

Want to Critique This Claim Published in the Atlantic Magazine?

A sociologist again makes the claim for what Katha Pollitt once called a "barbarian-adoption program." The deputy managing editor of the Atlantic magazine printed it as fact. Living Single readers: Explain to the sociologist and the editor what's wrong with their claim. I'll post the best critiques.

We Need Same-Sex Couples – in Figure Skating

The Olympic figure skating pairs shimmered with grace and talent, but I just couldn't help it: Every time I saw a man hoist his partner with one hand or toss her forward, I thought not of Mikhail Baryshnikov but of Fred Flintstone. 

Sharing the Quirky Love

Insightful, enlightened perspectives on single life are popping up all over the web. A new singles advocacy group seems to be in the works, too. So let's share our quirky love with all of them.

“Friendship in the Time of Love”

From Yasmin Nair, on friendship in a time of love: "I realise that I've learnt, after several past missteps and perhaps several future ones, to look for and nurture relationships with friends I care about and who care about me: coupled and uncoupled, married and unmarried, floating in between continents and couplings, leaving and arriving, writing and not writing, forgiving or not forgiving, or forgiving without a word, returning wordlessly, messy interlocking circles that move and shift and friends who surprise me out of the blue with words of care that leave me stammering in surprise and pleasure." 

Unfathomable Even to Brilliant, Kind, and Open Minds: The Securely Single

I've been studying singles, single life, and perceptions and stereotypes of singles for more than a decade. One of the most resistant myths is that no one can be truly secure in their single status. Even the most brilliant, kind, and open-minded thinkers get tripped up by their inability to appreciate that single people can be happily and securely single. A recent Psych Today post describing single people as fragile, bitter, vibrator-clutching, porn-watching, and resentful of happily coupled people is a telling example of this. Also, I offer advice for couples on Valentine's Day. 

Getting Married and Getting Sex (or Not)

The National Sex Survey was full of information about rates of sexual problems. Waite and Gallagher do not have much to say on that topic. Here's some of what they skipped over. With regard to some of the problems men might have, such as an inability to maintain an erection, climaxing too early, or experiencing pain during sex, currently married men have nothing over men who have always been single. When the two groups differ on those measures, it is the married men who are more likely to be having difficulties. Men who have always been single also report fewer sexual problems than divorced men. Among the women, the group most likely to be problem-free is not the currently married women.

The Case for Marriage is a Sham

The claim that "marriage is so good" is often based on a widely-cited, but massively flawed book, The Case for Marriage. Much of that book, and the case it tries to make, does not meet the highest scientific standards. Not even close. Getting married does not offer great benefits (except for financial ones, largely a consequence of marital status discrimination), so the finding that many people do not want to marry poses no paradox. 

Should You Marry that Rude, Stinky, Creepy Person Since You’re Not Perfect Either?

Once upon a time, a reporter for a major magazine declared, in all seriousness, that women should just get married already - even if it means settling for someone kind of repulsive. I wish I could say that it happened back in the Stone Age. In fact, though, the insolent story was published by Lori Gottlieb in the Atlantic magazine in 2008. Today, Gottlieb's regressive singlist, matrimaniacal essay, expanded to book length, appeared in print. Don't buy it - the book or the message. 

Shame on You, APA!

The Monitor, a publication of the American Psychological Association, should be a respectable source of accurate information about psychological research. It should also be professional. But in a recent brief report of a study documenting the strong psychological resources of people who have always been single, it humiliated itself. It characterized the state of the literature on marital status and emotional well-being in a way that was inaccurate. It gleefully disparaged single people. It ended the report with a more subtle example of singlism, implying that these successful single people were not living their single lives in a positive way, but instead "avoiding" marriage. Consciousness-raising about singles has a long way to go.

Amazon Pulls Thousands of Books

Since none of the other PT bloggers seem to have mentioned it yet, I thought PT book lovers and Amazon customers might like to know that Amazon has (temporarily, I hope) pulled thousands, if not tens of thousands, of books from its site over a dispute with one of the biggest publishers in the nation. Plus, what to wear on Valentine's Day. 

Can You Identify the Tragedy in This Story?

Which of the following rates a media headline? Abduction? Trafficking of women? Vastly disproportional aborting of female fetuses over male fetuses? Forced prostitution? Wrong. It is none of the above. 

The Happiness Challenge: Can You Be Happy with So Much Stacked Against You?

Suppose you had several major illnesses that left you without a memory of the first few decades of your life, and with unremitting pain, fatigue, hunger, and thirst. A Living Single reader is faced with all of that, and she is looking for suggestions as to how to be happy despite it all. 

Shout Them Out Here: Singles (Un)Friendly Businesses

Living Single readers are right - it is time to vote with our feet! I'm hereby starting an ongoing list of singles-friendly and singles-unfriendly businesses, venues, groups, restaurants, neighborhoods, cities, and all the rest. Post your nominations here.

Yahoo’s Humiliating Headline on Solo Dining

What's wrong with the Yahoo headline, "How Not to Feel Humiliated When Dining Alone"? Maybe the same thing that's wrong with the question, "When did you stop beating your wife?" My colleagues and I have done systematic research on what other people think of you when you dine solo - compared to when you dine as a couple, with a friend, or with a group. Wait till you see what they said about the couples! 

Wedding Porn Doesn’t Turn Us On: Age at 1st Marriage Has Never Been Higher

Ads featuring wedding themes, television shows such as The Bachelor, mate-bait manuals, and all the other wedding porn just keeps coming, but singles aren't buying it. Newly released Census Bureau data show that the age at which Americans first marry has never been higher. 

Not Going Nuclear: So Many Ways to Live and Love

When we describe all sorts of personal communities as "families," and try to analogize them to nuclear families, we mask the many different ways we live and love in 21st century America. Groups of friends who build lives together (and are not just young adults), siblings and other relatives who live together (and are not just elderly widows or widowers), and other intentional communities are all part of the contemporary interpersonal landscape. Couples are living differently, too, in their commuter marriages and their "living apart together" arrangements. Even those couples who live under the same roof are leading lives that are less enmeshed than they were in 1980. 

Latest Claim: Getting Married Makes You Fatter Because You Are Having So Much Fun

Three great catches by Living Single readers: (1) Even when the outcome of getting married is a bad one, you'll read an explanation that turns on the alleged superiority of married people. (2) Did you come up with some awful new fake food, like spray-pancakes? That's perfect for single people! (3) Should you start your own business because Google and Netflix are successful? That's the logic of studies comparing the currently married to single people. 

Do Men Become More Generous After Marrying?

A study of the role of marriage in men's lives showed little indication that men who married became more generous with their money or their time than they had been before they wed. By some measures, they were less giving than they were when they were single. Men who married even did less housework then they did when they were bachelors. 

‘Up In the Air’ Lets Us Down: Guest Review by E. Kay Trimberger

Guest reviewer E. Kay Trimberger gets to the bottom of Up in the Air, a movie that has its strengths but also makes single life seem awful and family life fabulous "in order to mask the real polarity of rich and poor, the powerful and powerless, the moral and immoral." 

Did You Recognize Your Friendship in ‘This Emotional Life’?

The segment on friendship in "This Emotional Life" covered Asperger's, loneliness, conflicts with coworkers, bullying, and suicide. Is that what friendship means to you?

The Health Hazards of Having Been Married

A recent blog post proclaimed that living single is hazardous to your health. Here's what's wrong with that claim. 

Nightline Hosts Pity Party for Successful Black Women

One of stories Nightline aired over the holidays was about black women who are successful in so many ways, but - oh, my - they are single. Nightline brought in a relationship guru to advise them on marrying, not happening to mention that their man was indeed an expert - he had been married three times. This media pity party for accomplished, single black women has been going on for years. I share an excerpt about it from "Singled Out." 

Top 12 ‘Living Single’ Posts for 2009

Here are the 12 posts to the Living Single blog that generated the most interest (page views) for the year 2009, plus a few more all-time favorites. 

People Posting Vile, Hateful Comments: What’s That About?

Recently, some nasty, personal, gratuitous remarks have been posted to the comments section of this blog; others have been sent to me by email. In a way, that's just part of the blogosphere, and I know that others get targeted like this far more than I do, so I'm not complaining. But I am curious.

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