Think of a prototypical healthy adult. You’re likely imagining someone who works out, meditates, goes to therapy, journals, contributes to social causes, eats a plant-based diet, and, wait . . . are they married or single? If you’re a regular consumer of popular research, you’d probably say married, citing studies promoting the mental and physical benefits of marriage.
Not so fast, says Bella DePaulo, an academic associate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and long-time singles advocate. The reported findings are biased, she contends, and the single life is often as healthy, if not healthier, for many people. DePaulo, a seasoned blogger at Psychology Today, has written articles for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Forbes, and many others. She’s the author of 18 books, including Singled Out, which The Washington Post called a “hilarious, superbly researched diatribe in favor of living well single.”
With more than 110 million single adults in America, comprising 45 percent of the population, we therapists need to better understand this growing population as something more than people waiting to find the right partner. In other words, we need to keep our matrimania in check.
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RH: What inspired you to study the psychology of singleness?
DePaulo: For years, I kept a secret file folder of observations about what I’d later call…