Regan Penaluna in Nautilus:
Della DePaulo never fantasized about a dream wedding or being a bridesmaid. Instead, she saw herself as “single at heart,” pursuing intellectual refinement, friendship, and solitude as a young psychologist. Still, she had internalized the popular idea that married people were happier and healthier than the unmarried, and took her own pleasant experience to be exceptional. That is, until she looked into it, and found the claims about the “transformative power of marriage” to be, she says, either “grossly exaggerated or totally untrue.” From then on, she’s focused on how singles actually live.
Now at the University of California, Santa Barbara, DePaulo has written widely about how marriage and the nuclear family are making way for other social arrangements. (Read her Nautilus feature about these new kinds of families) She’s not fooled by shows such as The Bachelor or romantic comedies that end with a storybook wedding proposal. Those narratives exist, she says, “not because we as a society are so secure about the place of marriage in our lives, but because we’re so insecure.” At least one cause of that insecurity is the empowerment of single women, which she writes about in her book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. Nautilus caught up with DePaulo to discuss how single women are transforming social and political life, how they’re settling down, and what that says about living happily.