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

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  342 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
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 everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2006)
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Singled Out by Christine A. ColónNow and Not Yet by Jennifer A. MarshallThrive by Lina AbuJamraThey Were Single Too by David M. HoffeditzReal Sex by Lauren F. Winner
Books on Singleness
9th out of 29 books — 6 voters
The Shroud of Turin by Summer LeeWhere Have All the Good Men Gone? by Angela J. KieslingWhat's Inside by Donald   ThomasTruth, Lies, and the Single Woman by Allison K. FlexerThe Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
Good books for Christian single gals
13th out of 14 books — 6 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,254)
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Stephanie
Oct 04, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
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
Kate Sherrod
Jan 28, 2013 Kate Sherrod rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jennifer
Jan 10, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jan
Aug 22, 2008 Jan rated it really liked it
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
Robert
Feb 18, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it
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.
Yasmin
Jul 02, 2010 Yasmin rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lisa
Jan 31, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok
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.
...more
Meika
Jan 22, 2011 Meika rated it really liked it
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
...more
Lauren
Dec 16, 2008 Lauren rated it did not like it
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
Michelle Llewellyn
Jun 19, 2016 Michelle Llewellyn rated it liked it
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
Erica
Mar 14, 2012 Erica rated it liked it
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."
Liviania
Jun 12, 2012 Liviania rated it really liked it
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
AJ
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
...more
DW
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
Tracy
Mar 20, 2015 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preach it, sister!

I want to make everyone I know read this book. While I didn't agree with every point, I felt, on the whole, such a huge sense of recognition and relief reading this book. Finally, my annoyance and anger at little injustices, my exasperation with the lingering question of what's wrong with me, my defensiveness in my life choices - all laid out on the page with rationality, commiseration, and humor. Almost 300 pages of how it's not me that's wrong, but the whole cultural percepti
...more
Hope
Jul 01, 2014 Hope rated it really liked it
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
...more
Teresa
Mar 09, 2015 Teresa marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
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
Becky
Jun 27, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it
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.
Penelope Green
Feb 14, 2016 Penelope Green rated it really liked it
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
...more
Antoine Dumas
Jan 13, 2016 Antoine Dumas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Hannah
Aug 23, 2015 Hannah rated it it was ok
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
...more
Cris
Jul 27, 2015 Cris rated it did not like it
I picked this book up because it was recommend to me by a coworker who was impressed by DePaulo's ideas. And I also found DePaulo's ideas and theories provocative. Sadly, I don't think the writing or reasoning makes the author's case. I found the tone of the writing to be strident and defensive. I imagine the author felt the numerous personal examples would humanize her theory and help persuade the reader emotionally. To me they sounded more like someone who felt they were being picked on and sa ...more
Daniel
Mar 01, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it
If you are single or are married and want to know what it means to be single 25+, read this book. It shows the way single are discriminated against. The second chapter is full of stats and I feel one could skip it personally.

I also feel the author slants more towards writing about singles who are female to those who are male. And finally, the author seems really attached to proving it is ok for single to be happily single. This leaves me wondering, what about those who are single and dont wish t
...more
Erin
Jan 07, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Darkemeralds
Jan 09, 2014 Darkemeralds rated it liked it
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
...more
Lynzo
Oct 14, 2010 Lynzo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Melody
Dec 30, 2015 Melody rated it it was amazing
If you're a single person who doesn't mind being single and maybe even *gasp* enjoys it, but is annoyed with everyone else that seems to have a problem with it, read this book. It's amazing how we singles are discriminated against and this book really opened my eyes. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what Bella DePaulo had to say, and saw myself in several of the examples she gave. Maybe I need to give this book to the next person who asks me when I plan on settling down and getting married. ...more
Susan
Jul 17, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
I am extremely defensive against people who are rude or insensitive to single people and I will defend being single and argue right along with the author against all the myths about single people that she brings up. However, I'd still like the possibility of a great long-term relationship with someone who defends the best facets of being single with me. I don't know if that's a contradiction but it's just how I feel about it. After 23 years married and 5 divorced/single, I have a pretty good han ...more
Tara van Beurden
Sep 11, 2015 Tara van Beurden rated it really liked it
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
Leigh
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
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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
More about Bella DePaulo...

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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.” 2 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.” 2 likes
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