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Guest Post: Single in the Cocktail Hour of Life December 31, 2014

Posted by Onely in Dating, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, Singles Resource.
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Happy 2015 everyone! Christina here. It’s a new year–we’re all one year older and despite what the Clinique “anti-aging” posters at the mall say, another year past is nothing to be afraid, sad, ashamed, or angry about. All of us who have made it this far are privileged. So let’s not say that forty (my age!) is the new thirty. Why do we need to go back to thirty? (When I was thirty I was a poor grad student with a broken toe that had me limping for several months.) Instead, let’s say forty is the new forty! Copious Readers, please welcome Beth Portolese, who taught me that concept:

Onely is happy to have a guest post by Beth Portolese, founder and publisher of FiftyIsTheNewFifty.com, the online magazine targeting people in “The Cocktail Hour of Life.” As always, we note that guest posts may or may not entirely reflect the views of Onely.org (though usually they do).

Over 50, Single and Gratified

Guest post by Beth Portolese

I am a woman in my 50s with no husband and no children. What I do have is a happy and fulfilling life. Regular readers of Onely are probably not surprised by this. Being unmarried and childless (or childfree, depending on your POV) and living happily single is not necessarily an oxymoron, although folks might think so when reading women’s and general interest news magazines or watching television.

I didn’t anticipate winding up this way. When I was a kid I figured I would get married while I was in college and be on my way to having my first child right after I graduated, because that is what magically happened to and for girls at the time.

The reality is that I got married at 33 and never got around to having a child before my marriage slid downhill. Since my divorce, I have had a few relationships, but have spent most of my time single and definitely living solo. And, for the most part, I prefer to live this way.

Why is it that so many people feel that heterosexual men and women who don’t fit the standard mold of being both partnered and parents must be unhappy and lonely? It’s a mystery to me, especially since I’m well aware that you can have a partner and feel quite alone anyway. I have many single friends who feel the same way and we have created an ‘urban family.’ My particular group formed because we all live in Manhattan and worked together at some point resulting in us having gotten to know each other over the years. My brother and a few other siblings were added into our group, which increased its size. We all come together for various events and holidays to support each other, celebrating the good and productive things in our lives.

I recently saw a piece in the news about a gene Chinese scientists believe they have discovered. It’s being called the ‘singleton gene’. Apparently, their research shows that those who have this gene are 20% more likely to be single than others. Hmm, well maybe I have this gene! If so, perhaps the fact that I enjoy not having the responsibility of a relationship is genetic. If genetics enter into it, people might accept that being alone is normal for some people – it seems that when people believe biology = destiny, they feel a lot more comfortable.

(more…)

Help! I Need Somebody! (A guest post) April 11, 2014

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Your Responses Requested!.
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friends_forever_by_kr8v-d2eeyt4Copious Readers, welcome to another installment in our latest series about singles with chronic illness. Today we are pleased to introduce a guest post by our reader Bea, who ponders the meaning of “friends and family” and their role in the life of a single person with chronic illness.

 Help! I need somebody!

Ever so often I stumble over this one expression that triggers kind of an allergic reaction in me. Like a mental allergy, even though I swear I can nearly feel it physically. It makes me upset and my mind starts to go in never ending circles, consisting of negative thoughts, hopeless thoughts à la „how is this ever gonna change?“. And I stumble over this expression all the time, in conversations, magazine articles, TV shows and…in self-help books, which is the last place where I wanna be confronted with depressing thoughts, seriously.

The expression I’m talking about here is this: „getting support from your family and friends“. Which is supposed to be something good in your life, something soothing, empowering, something to rely on. Especially when you are in a crisis, like losing your job or your home or an emotional crisis or getting sick. Like so sick that it changes your life, temporarily, or in case of a chronic illness, permanently. Which in itself is an enormous challenge, because a chronic illness alters your life in so many ways. It can be compared to a grieving process, accepting changes in your body, maybe restrictions in mobility, maybe constant exhaustion, maybe chronic pain. And if this illness is something totally new in your life, there’s a lot of things that need to be said good-bye to, things that you remember you were able to do before, but now can’t anymore. The good thing is, there’s also a lot of beautiful moments during and after the grieving process and the human psyche is definitely something magical, being able to adapt, to survive and build new things.

But one thing is for sure, dealing with a chronic illness all on your own is not advisable, the one thing you absolutely need to adapt to is the fact that you need help. And not only professional help from doctors or therapists etc., but in your personal life. Which is what brings me back to this expression that I don’t like, this “family and friends” thing. What I mostly don’t like about it is the subtle distinction between the two, the meaning behind the words. Because the conventional understanding of family is a biological – or at least legally adoptive – family, meaning your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles etc. The only way to extend this kind of family – in a conventional understanding – is, if you fall in love with somebody, then marry, maybe have kids, and by this way you build a new “family branch”.

But what if you don’t have this? What if you don’t have a family, never had one or lost it or had to cut all contact out of self respect or the will to survive? And what if you don’t have a romantic relationship either, a so-called “life partner”, and your life works quite well without one? But that’s what the “friends” part in “family and friends” is for, isn’t it? Yes, that’s what I thought, too, and I’m a big advocate for families of choice, for people building close-knit ties without a romantic or biological connection behind it. The problem is I still feel quite alone with it most of the time, with this wish of changing the status quo. And I feel even more alone in moments when I am depending on somebody’s support.

Because way too often I experience that people secretly still have this hierarchy in their head, this clear distinction between family – and – friends. And yes, I do understand that people only have a certain amount of energy, that they can’t support everybody, that they have to take care of themselves, too, after all. But it bugs me that there still seems to be this huge self-evidence of who comes first and who second. It bugs me in many ways, if for example I see friends circling their life around each new “life-partner”, no matter for how little time they’ve known this person. And it bugs me, if people don’t even question the fact that they spend their vacation always with their “loved ones”. And it bugs me, of course, to then get pity from those people, because I don’t have this kind of life, not even asking if I want or need it, pressuring me into something that I actually don’t want for myself. Honestly, I love being on my own!

But what I do need is help and support, if I like it or not. And it will become more and more in the upcoming years, since my chronic illness will result in me sitting in a wheel chair at some point. And I admit that right now, I am still in the midst of my grieving process, and maybe I am too pessimistic and bitter and single-minded at this point in my life. But, of course, what’s behind this pessimism is an unfathomable amount of worries and fears. One of those fears is that my lifestyle of choice, being a single and being without my biological family, will not be compatible with this new situation. So I guess what I need the most right now is to know that there’s more people out there who have an allergic reaction to old conventions and who don’t give up working against the status quo.

–Bea

Hi, Christina here again. If you are a single person with a chronic sickness, feel free to write to us at onely@onely.org to share your story. We are also looking for good ways to say “singles with chronic illness” with fewer syllables (“sick singles” already having been nixed as a possibility). Some of us brainstormed up Single and Surviving Sickness, Single and Sick Survivors, Single and Sick but Surviving–all of which condense to the handy acronym SaSS. But acronyms aren’t everything so we still need your help to come up with some non-tongue-twisting terminology. 

Photo credit: kr8v

Single and Sickness–The Personal Side November 16, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource.
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Copious Readers, please don’t forget that we always love to hear from your and encourage guest posts from all our readers (even those who disagree with some of our content). Lately we are trying to explore the issue of singles and sickness.

Today’s contributor is Yolanda, a longtime supporter of Onely and the driving force behind the active and supportive Footloose Femails email group and the new Facebook group Happily Single Women’s Group. She also happens to have many medical problems including chronic pain, chronic fatigue and chronic hunger and thirst 24/7   but she doesn’t let those physical challenges define her. In fact, sometimes she laughs in their faces:

Invisible_Man_by_NogarKhazI’ve got a new boyfriend!! I’ve known him all my life, but we’ve gotten really close since I got sick 16 years ago.

His name is Will Power.

But I heard that he’s got a lot of other women “on the side”, so I’m sure that he’s seeing a lot of YOU out there too.  I don’t know how he does it!!!

I might be unmarried but I honestly believe that Will Power will be someone I’m going to spend a lot of time with!!  He’s probably going to be almost like a husband – sticking with me through thick and thin, in good times and bad. Hopefully he’ll never desert me.

Yolanda

P.S.  After a few hours I’m actually thinking of ditching him!!

He abandoned me as soon as the going got tough. When I was feeling sick & tired he just ran away into another room. And that’s when I needed him most!! Oh well, “in good times and bad times”. Hopefully he won’t abandon me too often!!

Maybe when you’re asked, you can say you have a boyfriend called Will Power too? Saves you having to justify being single.

Thanks, Yolanda, for sharing your thoughts from your unique perspective. I hope one day Will Power will cheat on you with me. (No offense.)  –Christina

Photo credit: NogarKhaz

Talking Back to Dr. Phil, Part 4–The Dr. David Bedrick Interview August 2, 2013

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Everyday Happenings, Guest Posts, Interviews.
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Bedrick, David. Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013).

Copious Readers, welcome to our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. David Bedrick, who proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

Today’s Topic:  What makes you think I want to be more like you?

Onely: You say we need to protect marginalized people and forms of expression being seen as “problems” (xxv) and that such allopathic thinking, prevents us from seeing chances for individual growth–and thereby social growth (5).

How do you think society might benefit by attempting to eliminate marital status discrimination? Would such an effort stabilize or destabilize us?


Bedrick: Great question! This is an interesting debate in the GLBT community where many are fighting of the right to be legally married while a smaller minority does not see this as the best direction because it presupposes that being more like “them” is a better way to be.

I think it was James Baldwin, a black gay man, who said something like “what makes you think that I want to be more like you?” There is a powerful assumption that people want the right to be like those who enjoy the most social privilege, however individuals and society suffer from marginalizing our diversity when actually what they want is the fair distribution of privilege- from affirmation and fair witness to legal rights.

Certainly if this discrimination were lessened, people would be more free to not hold partnering/marrying as central to their esteem and life goals freeing them to express their gifts in ways more suitable to their authentic selves. In addition, as I suggested above, even people who are partnered would enjoy greater inner support for their independent dreams.

Lastly, let me express my appreciation for your work. Your questions, vision, and focus have required me to reflect more on the issues you raise, making me more conscious, a better ally, and a better counselor.

Onely: Thanks so much for taking time to talk with us. Feel free to contact us in the future with any other thoughts or ideas about applying the principles of love-based psychology to Oneliness!

***

Copious Readers, please find the previous parts of this interview right below this one!

–Christina

Talking Back to Dr. Phil, Part 3–The Dr. David Bedrick Interview August 2, 2013

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Guest Posts, Interviews.
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Bedrick, David. Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013).

Copious Readers, welcome to our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. David Bedrick, who proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

Today’s Topic:  The Failures of “Fixing”

Onely: You comment on Dr. Phil’s extreme popularity, yet point out that There are no books reflecting on his counsel, critiquing his approach, or providing alternatives to his advice. (xxiv)

What challenges have you encountered in being effectively the first person to present a large-scale critique of such an ingrained cultural institution? (Dr. Bella DePaulo and Lisa and I hit numerous brick walls when we took on the underdiscussed-topic of marital status discrimination.)


Bedrick: While I have sent my book to Dr. Phil, I have had no response from him. However, many people are offended by some of the ideas I present.

The most provocative ideas are these:

1) I support people to not marginalize their unique individual selves. However, this means, as you have encountered, bumping into deep mainstream beliefs and morality. In fact, mainstream psychology has, as one of its functions, to foster mainstream morality even if that means looking at people who are different as sick or pathological. So, when I don’t condemn anger, try to ‘lift’ people out of depression, or help people become more “productive” then people take issue with me.

2) Our culture has taught us to ‘fix’ what disturbs us. (more…)

Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Part 2, The Dr. David Bedrick Interview August 2, 2013

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Guest Posts, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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1 comment so far

Bedrick, David. Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology. (Belly Song Press, 2013).

Copious Readers, welcome to our ongoing series of interviews with Dr. David Bedrick, who proposes a “love-based psychology” that goes beyond the normative (restrictive) ideals that our society (as evidenced by Dr. Phil) puts upon people.

Bedrick’s approach parallels Onely’s efforts to dismantle normative prejudices against unmarried people. We disagree with the idea that couples (whether socially coupled or married) are “better” than single people, or more deserving of government protection.

Today’s Topic:

What happens when society suppresses

The “single” side each of us possesses?

Onely: You list seven basic principles of love-based psychology. We were struck by number 6: A love-based psychology views social prejudice as impacting people’s well-being. . . sexism, homophobia, classism, ethnocentrism, racism, and other forms of social biases play an integral role in the suffering people experience. . . (xxiii)

 Singlism, the discrimination against socially single or unmarried people, is missing from this list. Can you comment on this omission or provide some examples you have encountered where a single person has been impacted by seeking help from mainstream psychology?


Bedrick: Thanks for mentioning this; I obviously have a blind spot here. It is good to be educated by you!

I am thinking of two examples. First, a woman who was constantly critical of herself whenever she saw people coupled. She too believed she should be coupled and that she wasn’t because she had a personality flaw. That kind of thinking is very injurious to the psyche. Valuing her path as an individual and helping her notice the unconscious privilege of partnered people, especially in her family system, was very important.

At another level, almost all of us have a “single” part of ourselves- a part that is either not interested in relating to other people or a part that is less open to accommodating their own impulses, directions, interests, etc. for others. This often makes negotiating relationships conflictual because we are encouraged to express our “together” part only. Our “single” part gets marginalized and later shows up as resentment, distance, tiredness, or even addictive patterns.

Guest Post: Why People Living Alone Can Be Happy May 28, 2013

Posted by Onely in Great Onely Activities, Guest Posts, Secret Lives of the Happily Single.
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6a00d8341eb61d53ef01348621cb5a970c-800wiCopious Readers, as you may have noticed, Onely likes to have guest posts from anyone who has something to say about how single people experience life–we welcome (even crave) input from all cultures and all sorts of relationship statuses, from divorced to widowed to single and seeking to single and happy to asexual and even married. Here is another guest post, this time by Ryan Thurmost, who talks about the benefits of living alone, which as you know is just one aspect of being single (and a privileged one at that). What other benefits can you add? Or drawbacks? Do you agree or disagree with the stated benefits? For more information, check out Eric Klinenberg’s book Going Solo

Why People Living Alone Can Be Happy

Everyone wants to find true happiness, but this can be a difficult task. Many find it surprising that living alone may be one of the solutions, but they really shouldn’t be. For a lot of us, it just makes sense. Here are some of the reasons why individuals who are living by themselves might actually be the quintessential picture of happiness 🙂No Financial Fights

If you surveyed a bunch of people who have roommates about their biggest stressors, you might discover that finances are the biggest reason for disagreement in their apartments or houses. Those who live alone have total control of their budget. If a bill doesn’t get paid, they have no one to blame but themselves. On top of that, they’re free to do what they want with extra spending money (within reason, of course) and don’t have to consult with someone on mundane topics such as whether or not to keep the A/C on high. They can install a new appliance when they want, they can order whatever cable package they want, etc.

Loving Themselves
You’ve probably heard people say that it’s hard to love another person when you don’t exactly love yourself. Individuals who live alone usually have the time to focus on themselves. They’re less likely to have to worry about caring for someone all day long, and they don’t constantly have to clean or cook to suit the needs and tastes of another. People who live alone have time to explore their hobbies and get to know both what they really like and what they want to do with their lives.


Pets
(more…)

Single? Blogfest Explains How to Get Screwed 1,000 Times! April 15, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Marital Status Discrimination, Singled Out, Singles Resource, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 11.43.08 PMMarital Status Discrimination: Today, Onely joins forces with dozens of other bloggers to highlight the problem of Marital Status Discrimination. Why? Because on Tax Day, Uncle Sam picks the pockets of singles at the same time he’s rewarding couples for getting married.

So what? So this: The U.S. government–a democratic government, a government “By the People and For the People” and all that–discriminates against fifty percent of its population: unmarried people. Our federal code alone contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out.

Because this phenomenon was a problem with no name, we at Onely christened it “institutionalized” Marital Status Discrimination. In January we made a big slam-dunk stink about it in The Atlantic.

The Million-Dollar Difference: According to our very conservative and basic calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily pay at least a million dollars more over her lifetime than her married counterpart, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws (such as Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security).

What’s more, our hypothetical scenarios did not consider state laws, nor the many ways Marital Status Discrimination shows up in corporate policies–such as when singles pay more for all sorts of insurance. These factors could easily push the million-dollar figure higher. Much higher.

But money isn’t everything:  That’s why our government has thoughtfully provided other laws that don’t impact single people’s pocketbooks. These laws instead impact single people’s peace of mind. For example, as we described in 2010 on Psychology Today, an anti-stalking law promises protection to the victim’s spouse. Phew! But a single person being stalked is offered no such additional protection for a loved ones.

Any stalker who does his research (and we imagine this is all of them) would know exactly whom his stalkee loves most. R.I.P. Grandma; if only you had married your grandson maybe there would have been cops by your door when his stalker came calling. . .

The U.S. Government thinks being unmarried means: a life free of connections and cares, and full of discretionary spending. Unfortunately, even if this were true (and we at Onely fervently wish it were), no society is at its best when half its members are treated differently from the other half.

So let’s get started obliterating Marital Status Discrimination! Our first step is to. . uh. . . We will start by. . . ahem. . . Our next move should be. . . um. . .  Well, as you can see, while we at Onely are skilled at pointing out these problems, we aren’t so sure what we should do next.

So, Copious Readers, here’s where we need your help: Now that we’ve gotten the dialog started, what do you think our “next steps” should be? How do you think we should take action (and by “we,” we mean the collective blogosphere standing up for single people everywhere)? What subject matter experts are best positioned to spread the word or propose legislative change? Do you know tax professionals or legislators friendly to our cause? (Or can you convince them to embrace our cause?)

Please share your insights and spread the word: Comment below. Or tweet #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest. Or share this article on Facebook!

If you have more questions about Singles Blogfest, please write to Onely@onely.org or to contact.clue@gmail.com. Huh? Clue? Yes:

The Communication League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE):

We at Onely were not the only ones who instigated this effort. We were honored to have had lots of help from three of the most active voices in the progressive singles’ movement, who jumped on board the Singles Blogfest project with unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise:

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard), author of Singled Out and the “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today (belladepaulo@gmail.com)

Eleanore Wells, blogger and author of The Spinsterlicious Life (Eleanore@TheSpinsterliciousLife.com)

Cindy Butler, of Unmarried Equality  (cbutler@unmarried.org)

Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!

–Christina Campbell and Lisa A. of Onely.org, (pronounced wun-lee), a blog that challenges stereotypes about singles (Onely@onely.org)

Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com

Guest Post: 3 Tips to Creating Happily Ever After…YOUR Version February 12, 2013

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Posts.
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SHEA_Poster_filmOnely is thrilled to offer a guest post by award-winning author and filmmaker Michelle Cove, with extensive input from her co-director Kerry David and her lead character, Jacqueline Boas. Cove, David, and Boas discuss a question people often ask them:

What is your biggest “takeaway” when it comes to being a single woman?

Copious Readers, what are *your* biggest takeaways (we welcome input from our male readers as well)? Please note that the opinions expressed in guest posts may or may not be those of Onely.org (although they usually are!).

When Michelle Cove and Kerry David started making Seeking Happily Ever After (www.seekinghappilyeverafter.com)— a feature-length documentary that explores why there are more single 30-something women in the U.S. than ever–they had plenty of theories about why women are staying single longer and whether the trend would stick. One of the many questions: what would happen if you took a 30-something woman who was perfectly happy being single and forced her to spend a year at singles events so she could get friends and family off her back? Would she be happier one year later like they insisted? Michelle and Kerry put 30-something Jacquie Boas to the guinea-pig test. We’re not going to give away the twists and turns, but here were some of the big takeaways they each experienced. (more…)

Day Seven (Finale!): National Unmarried and Single Americans Week September 25, 2010

Posted by Onely in Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, single and happy, Singles Resource, Your Responses Requested!.
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So what did you do today to celebrate National Unmarried and Single Americans Week? Lisa and Christina both spent some time reframing personal goals so we don’t get overwhelmed or needlessly critical of ourselves. We’re sure you’re up to similar good things and we want to hear about it — so please let us know in the comments below!

We hope you’ll visit the seventh and FINAL stop on the second annual Blog Crawl for NUSA Week: Dr. Bella DePaulo of Living Single on Psychology Today posts on the Alternatives to Marriage Project!

Thanks to Single Women Rule for organizing the crawl, and to sponsors Cheek’d and Luscious Lifestyle for supporting it!

— Lisa and Christina

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