Friday, September 24, 2010

Global 2010: 8 myths about being single

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Myth #1: Singles are less happy than married people
First, most single people are not miserable — not even close. On the average, single people are always on the happy end of the scale; that’s true in every study I know of. Second, getting married hardly changes someone’s happiness at all. S

Myth #2: Single people favor solitude
Often, they have a whole network of friends and relatives, and they stay connected with them for decades. After all, they have the time to forge many diverse relationships, which married sorts often don’t. 

Myth #3: Elderly women live in isolation
Older women, in particular, are often painted as isolated spinsters, but in one study of 50 women who had always been single, 49 of them had close friends and usually they were in touch with those friends every single day. 

Myth #4: Single people don’t live as long as married folks
The people who lived the longest were those who stayed single and those who married and stayed married. People who divorced, or who divorced and remarried, had shorter lives. It was consistency, not marriage, that mattered, and the results were the same for men and women. 

Myth #5: Single people are self-centered
Singles are also more likely to encourage, help, and socialize with their neighbors and friends. 

Myth #6: The children of single parents are destined to live haplessly
In my research, though, I was struck by just how overstated those claims actually are. One example comes from the results of a National Drug Abuse Survey, a study of substance abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds. The children of single mothers had low rates of abuse — under 6 percent. And those rates were just 1.2 percent higher than the rates of the children living with married biological parents. 

Myth #7: Single people are not as healthy as people who get married
Typically, people who have always been single are very similar in their health to people who are currently married. There is, though, one exception where single people are actually healthier than attached types: married people are more overweight!

Myth #8: Single people waste money on frivolous things for themselves
In fact, one study showed that men were much more financially generous to their friends when they were single than they were after they married. When married men divorced, they reverted to their more giving selves. If they remarried, then they went back to being less generous to their friends. 

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