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Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After
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Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  369 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
"Singled Out debunks myths and stereotypes about single people and lays the groundwork for social, political, and economic change."
-- Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director, Unmarried America

Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everythin
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2006)
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Oct 04, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this book last week on Facebook. Someone had posted a New York Times article covering National Singles and Unmarried Week. Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. Harvard, was mentioned along with her newest book Singlism: what it is, why it matters and how to stop it. (The latter is on my wishlist. It's an anthology by 26+ contributors on the topic.) At any rate, DePaulo is the first author I've read to really face the topic head-on as a social scientist with an objective, critical eye. The book e ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book was a game-changer for me. Why? It's been a few years since my last long relationship, and while I've dated some, I was starting to suspect that I might actually be happier when I'm alone. I have, however, had lingering doubts from time to time that such a thing could even be possible. Surely I should keep getting out there and trying to meet someone. And if I didn't want to, something must be wrong with me, right? Am I selfish, immature, or scared of commitment?

Well, no. This book con
Kate Sherrod
Jan 20, 2013 Kate Sherrod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm tempted, this time around, to just share all the passages I highlighted, but that would just be lazy, and would probably somehow confirm some of you in your stereotyping of older single women as selfish and flippant and useless and whatnot. Heh.

For yea, I am one of those, unashamedly in my 40s and not only unmarried but uninterested in changing that, and I've been the target of every single (heh) one of the crappy remarks, employment practices, interrogations and dismissals Bella DePaulo cal
Feb 18, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People made comments about the angry tone of this book. I guess being perceived as pathetic, stupid and or incompotent because you don't want the same thing most people want should not make you angry. Of course, this general attitude of superiority on the part of married people tends to make one embrace a solitary lifestyle all the more.
Jul 02, 2010 Yasmin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reviewed this book for Windy City Times, and the original review can be found at the link below this review.

If you're single, you'll die alone and miserable in a cramped and filthy apartment. Only the stench of your putrefying corpse will alert neighbors to your death. Once they break down the door, they'll find your desperately ravenous cats chewing on the soft tissue of your eyes and lips. There'll be no one to claim the body or your pitiful estate. Your life, in short, will have been useles
Jun 30, 2008 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected to be annoyed with this book, anticipating a "poor me, look how hard my life is" rant. The Washington Post called it hilarious, which I would downgrade to witty. Each chapter left me more angry than amused as I learned of numerous quality-of-life structures in society that discriminate against single people. The financial advantage goes to the marrieds on issues of healthcare, insurance, salary, benefits, travel, restaurants, etc. I had previously been only vaguely aware that two-for- ...more
Jan 31, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
This more of a rant than critical/scientific criticism on the culture of marriage. The book attempts to debunk myths surrounding singlehood. It is a nice but flawed read. Except for the insight into the welfare system and the subtle discrimination which singles face, I don't think that this book is necessary.

DePaulo highlights the fact that marriage is deeply ingrained in our culture. I didn't need the book to tell me this; just about every magazine is obsessed with who's hitched up with whom.
Sep 13, 2009 Meika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pressure release valve for me.

Growing up in a church where the patriarchal model of marriage and family is central (all-consuming might not be overstating it), I'm very familiar with much of the rhetoric about how your health, happiness, sense of self, longevity, and eternal salvation are dependent on finding a mate and bearing children. I ran like hell because it went against everything that matters to me. I ran like hell because I didn't like the feeling that I was little bett
Oct 02, 2008 Lauren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this booked after enjoying Bella DePaulo's essay in "Single State of the Union," a book that I would rate as far superior to DePaulo's solo effort. While she does raise some excellent points about how singles are stigmatized and marginalized in US culture, she does it with casual writing and a snide attitude. I found it odd that she would go to great lengths to thoroughly research and write a quasi-academic book so as to talk about the issue without appearing to be a "bitter single p ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, easy to skim and gather the main thrust of her argument. I am now exquisitely sensitized to the many ways that society stereotypes, stigmatizes and ignores me. Also, I am now aware that Bella DePaulo has an unexpectedly complicated relationship with the long defunct TV show "Judging Amy."
Jun 12, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know some people are marriage-obsessed and I’ve certainly experienced one of the main questions at a family gathering being, “So, do you have a boyfriend?”; still, I’ve never realized the extent of discrimination against singles. (And yes, Bella DePaulo is very aware that singles do not face the discrimination many other groups must survive.) Sometimes she seems to be digging too deep into a frankly benign situation, but other times she uncovers surprising truths. The tone rarely contains bitt ...more
Michelle Llewellyn
In this book, the author takes careful aim and fires, knocking marriage off its glorious pedestal. All hail singlehood! We should own it. And down with all the subtle workplace and federal tax breaks based on marital status. In study after study, the author trots them out: always single people are just as happy as always marrieds (divorced are the ones to pity as out of all groups, they rate unhappiest) and all the cash benefits-payroll, taxes, social security-marrieds enjoy compared to singles ...more
This book definitely hits home. As somebody with no plans to get married, even though I have been in (and am in currently) pretty serious long term relationships, and have also spent plenty of time single, I can relate to a lot of what is said in this book. It has always struck me as strange and somehow unfair that people who are married are seen as more legitimate and "grown up" than people who aren't married, whether they be single or in a serious long term non-married relationship.

Bella DePau
Jun 14, 2009 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall I really, really enjoyed this books. I have definitely felt and have been on the other end of some of the things she talks about. Not necessarily the huge, major things, but in small ways.

I loved that she addressed the myth of marriage, and how one human person cannot meet all your needs and fulfill all your hopes. I hoped that she would explain what does (The Lord!!!), but I am not sure that she comes from that world view, so I think I just have to accept her best efforts.
Jan 07, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for everyone, not just "singles." Because let's face it, at some point in our lives we all feel "single," whether we are married, in a relationship or single.
Is this considered self-help? I don't know. I'd call it empowering.
Jun 28, 2010 Lynzo rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010, nonfiction
preaching to the choir, really. being single rules, and i'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who support me, uncoupled or no. interesting to examine the role of the media in people's mindsets of single people...
May 25, 2017 Dawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I wanted to like this book. I completely agree with her theory about how singles are stigmatized but this book was hard to get through. It was a lot like reading a graduate school research paper - the author spends most of her time talking about other people's research and refuting it. Plus the data/stats the author used just didn't hold up over time. What she used was new when she was published, but reading this 11 years after it was published the numbers just weren't relevant any longer.
Aug 08, 2015 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy reading this book, especially the first half. DePaulo frequently does use snide remarks, and those detract from her argument instead of making it funny or entertaining. With all of her snark, it seems like she's an angry, bitter single that has an agenda already set up, and that image only plays into the stereotype of singles. She even admits herself that she does whine about "matrimania."

The book is structured so that each chapter discusses a myth about singlehood. However. I wo
Melinda Seyler
Mar 09, 2013 Melinda Seyler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by:

I heard about this book somewhere- probably CBC radio as that's where most of my book info comes from- and have had the name floating on my desk for a year or so. I finally ordered it from the library and read it.
First of all, it interested me because I have noted many of the situations which the author comments about: I have to pay extra when going on holiday, because I only am one person. It is not an option to say; "I'll take a single room," because there ARE NO single rooms anymore. Yes, yes
Tara van Beurden
I have been single all my life (despite my good looks and charm – haha!) and have faced first hand the prejudice this status entails. My best friend is married and has been with her now-husband since we were in our late teens, my own mother married at 24. I, on the other hand, went to Uni, did a double degree accelerated, got a job with the biggest accounting firm in the world and worked ridiculous hours for six years, before changing jobs, and filling up my spare time with a double masters (my ...more
Aug 13, 2007 lkt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Don't worry, honey, your turn to divorce will come...."

DePaulo's book is brilliant, but it made me so angry. Angry at how many couples (from here on, "marrieds") stereotype, stigmatize, and ignore singles, of course! I already knew that marrieds feel sorry for singles because they're "incomplete," "lonely," and "unfulfilled." But not everyone wants the same thing, not everyone wants the conventional, predictable married life. I enjoy solitute tremendously, and marriage has never been my life
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was quite slow to start and I nearly gave up after chapter two which was mostly graphs and a lot of data and just confused me. But when she started to write about the myths of being single I was again hooked. I have to admit though that I have not experienced much of the discrimination that went on in this book. It certainly made me happy I'm Canadian and not American, they certainly don't treat a lot of their citizens well. In Ontario ...more
Wow, this lady has a problem. That was my thought after reading the first chapter. Her tone is so sarcastic that it threatens to drown out anything she says. Surprisingly, she never includes a statistic about what percentage of adults in the US are married/single/widowed/divorced, which seems extremely relevant to her subject (she implies that people are getting married later or not at all, but all she says numbers-wise is that a 27-year-old man is as likely to be married as not today). She poin ...more
Antoine Dumas
Jan 04, 2016 Antoine Dumas rated it really liked it
This book is hilarious: the language is conversational and engaging. It just reads itself.

A big part of what this book addresses is that when people consider the “benefits” of marriage, their cause and effect understanding is usually backwards, greatly exaggerated or just plain wrong. As the seminal “backwards” example: it’s not that married people are happier, it’s that happy people are more likely to get married and stay married. The actual marriage has no (except for a small spike in the yea
Penelope Green
Feb 11, 2016 Penelope Green rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is a neglected subject and one that is relevant to me. So I was very interested so read an endorsement of my current way of life. In that, I was disappointed. Of the subtitle, she clearly establishes the first three items but doesn't really convince on the last.

While DePaulo is clearly an advocate of the single way of life, what comes across is more that marriage is over-rated. Much of this comes in the form of reviews of books and studies that advocate marriage - and occasionally goes d
Jun 05, 2009 Gretchen rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was pretty good. As someone who is pretty much perpetually single, I could relate to a lot of the stuff she talked about. I also belong to a religious/cultural group where marriage, especially young marriage, is highly valued. Therefore, at 29, I am quite the old maid. Anyway, on with the review.

At first I had a hard time getting into the book. The first couple of chapters she's just setting up her methods and doing a lot of statistical/scientific stuff that was not very interesting to
DePaulo makes explicit a number of American prejudices and small, sometimes costly injustices against single adults that I wasn't quite conscious of. You will get them all in a nutshell in Chapter One, where she uses the classic reversal method to highlight unexamined assumptions and "othering" by swapping the positions of "single" and "married."

For example: "Single employees can add another adult to their healthcare plan; you can't" and "Every time you get married, you feel obligated to give e
Mar 08, 2015 Teresa marked it as abandoned
I think I got this when I was in a phase of being cranky about being single and wanting affirmation. It's been sitting on my shelves for years, and I've had no particular inclination to read it. I picked it up yesterday and have read the first couple of chapters and skimmed some other bits, and it's fine, but it doesn't say much that I don't already know (both about the annoyances and injustices single people deal with and the good things about being single). I do think that I would have loved t ...more
Jul 01, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some really good points here about how marriage is privileged legally and culturally in America. For example, you can legally give your Social Security benefits to a spouse, but not another relative, no matter the relative's closeness and importance to you. Culturally, single people are often labelled as more irresponsible and flaky than married couples.

DePaulo includes one example from the 2004 election that is both laughable and stunning: tv host Chris Matthews accused Ralph Nader o
Jun 20, 2010 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is awesome. Everyone, married and single should read this. The next person who tries to pity me for being lonely is going to get slapped upside the head with this book.

People may think it's whiny for single people to be taken seriously and for people to believe singles are happy the way they are, but it's not. For every time a couple leaves you out of an evening out ("we thought you might feel left out if you were the only single person") or relegates you to the kids table or doesn't
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Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979) is a social psychologist and the author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After and Single with Attitude: Not Your Typical Take on Health and Happiness, Love and Money, Marriage and Friendship. In Singled Out, and in her other work on people who are single, DePaulo has drawn from social science da ...more
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“The freedom to be single, to create a path through life that does not look like everyone else's, can be unsettling to people who feel more secure with fewer choices.” 3 likes
“The other side of mental blanketing - the buffing and puffing up of marriage to keep it seeming shiny and magical - is up against a formidable fact. Statistically speaking, the act of marrying is banal. Even though many Americans wait longer than ever to marry, and often do not stay long in the marriages they do enter, most Americans - close to 90 percent - still do marry at some point in their lives. Some try it over and over again. Marrying, then, does not make people special; it makes them conventional.” 3 likes
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