How To Be Single And Happy: Science-based Strategies For Keeping Your Sanity While Looking For A Soul Mate by Jennifer TaitzHow To Be Single And Happy: Science-based Strategies For Keeping Your Sanity While Looking For A Soul Mate by Jennifer Taitz

How To Be Single And Happy: Science-based Strategies For Keeping Your Sanity While Looking For A…

byJennifer Taitz

Paperback | January 16, 2018

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Single, less stressed, and free

If you’re tired of swiping through dating apps, ghosting, and hearing well-meaning questions about why you’re still single, it’s hard not to feel “less-than” because you haven’t found your soul mate.

Until now.

How to Be Single and Happy is an empowering, compassionate guide to stop overanalyzing romantic encounters, get over regrets or guilt about past relationships, and identify what you want and need in a partner. But this isn’t just another dating book. Drawing on her extensive expertise as a clinical psychologist, as well as the latest research, hundreds of patient interviews, and key principles in positive psychology, Dr. Jennifer Taitz challenges the most common myths about women and love (like the advice to play hard to get). And while she teaches how to skillfully date, she’ll also help you cultivate the mindset, values, and connections that ensure you’ll live your best, happiest life, whether single or coupled up.
JENNIFER L. TAITZ, Psy.D., A.B.P.P., is a board-certified cognitive behavioral clinical psychologist and a certified dialectical behavioral therapist who specializes in offering people proven tools to enhance their life. Dr. Taitz is passionate about helping people move past habits that interfere with their capacity for joy. Her first ...
Title:How To Be Single And Happy: Science-based Strategies For Keeping Your Sanity While Looking For A…Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.23 × 5.44 × 0.67 inPublished:January 16, 2018Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143130994

ISBN - 13:9780143130994


Read from the Book

I'm assuming that you're reading this book for one of two reasons:     1.    You're single and you're feeling disappointed by dating or convinced you'll never meet "your person."     OR     2.    You're unhappily coupled but you dread being single again. Over the years I've spent as a clinical psychologist, one thing I've learned is that many of my clients are pretty much convinced that when they meet someone, they'll finally feel happy. I definitely empathize. Women get the brunt of this pressure to couple up; there's still no acceptable female equivalent to a "confirmed bachelor" in our culture. Ages ago, older women who weren't married were looked upon as "old maids," a concept that's never entirely left our psyches. Even the most well-intentioned family members and friends can make uncoupled women feel like there's something wrong with them with comments like, "Don't worry, you'll meet someone" (as if that is the only way you'll be okay) or "He doesn't seem so bad. Maybe you're being too negative. Why don't you just give him a chance?" I know the fear and sadness that being single can bring. I also know how disappointing it can feel to stay in less-than-optimal relationships because it seems too scary to risk being alone in case you never meet someone else. My goal, as I said earlier, is to show you that you can live with happiness and fulfillment, with or without being in a committed relationship. After all, over the course of life, most people will spend time in relationships and also experience periods when they are single. Once you get to the end of this book, you will feel liberated by a new approach to being single, one that will allow you to find more satisfaction. For a long time, I certainly believed that meeting my soul mate was the key to my contentment. And it's true that finding someone wonderful might increase your joy, though perhaps not as much as you might think. In the pages ahead, you'll learn more about what psychologists know about love and how it relates to happiness, but first, I want you to take a moment to come up with your best estimate of how much you believe that meeting your dream person might increase your joy. Five percent? Fifty percent? One hundred and fifty percent? Now hold on to that number as you read this next sentence: The belief that your happiness hinges on an external circumstance that you can't control (i.e., meeting a romantic partner) not only makes it harder to find love, but it also sets you up for unhappiness. Letting go of the maddening myth that happiness comes from coupling up is the first step to freedom. Stressing out about meeting someone will not help you meet that person any faster. The healthiest way to increase your chances of finding love is to increase your happiness, right now. That's what my client, whom I'll call Juliana, ultimately discovered. Sweet, funny, with lots of freckles, this forty-three-year-old stay-at-home mother was as only child whose parents divorced when she was in middle school. She told me that her childhood was "lonely," and that ever since she was a young girl playing with figurines in her dollhouse, she was convinced that a fulfilling marriage ensured happiness. As a young adult, Juliana attributed her mother's sadness as a by-product of divorcing her father years before. In her late twenties, Juliana met George, the man who ultimately became her husband. "Right away, I felt like, if he's with me, I'm good," she told me in one of our early sessions. The start of their relationship was "insanely blissful." Juliana described herself as introverted and a bit nervous in social situations. George was extroverted enough to be a talk-show host or comedian. Juliana also told me that she'd struggled a lot with dating. "I'm not in the lucky gene pool," she told me, explaining that she wasn't trying to sound negative, but that she was acutely aware that she was "below average" in looks and didn't consider herself to be particularly smart. She'd been anxious about dating and eager to find someone and felt lucky that George, someone she adored, reciprocated her feelings. By the time Juliana came to see me, she and George had been together for thirteen years. Her marriage, she told me, was "pretty much over." George wasn't attentive and she explained that they'd "failed" couples counseling. She told me that their therapist had agreed with George that her wish for ten minutes of nightly conversation was "too much" to expect, which left her wondering if her nudging about anything had been unreasonable and exacerbated the tension in their marriage. The problem was that their needs were at odds with each other. Juliana, who left her job in advertising after she had a baby, craved adult companionship after spending her days with their four-year-old daughter. George was bored in his work as an accountant and exasperated by their New York City bills. When he came home at the end of the day, the last thing he felt like doing was talking. "He's not the kind of guy who does things he's not in the mood to do," Juliana said. Recently, he'd mainly connected with Juliana when they were out in a big group and he was drinking. After years of feeling they like were in a rut, George and Juliana decided that they couldn't continue living together in their small apartment. But they couldn't agree on what to do about their challenges. Juliana hoped to improve the relationship; George thought it was too late. He didn't want more "work" in his life. While George checked out, Juliana was increasingly absorbed in reminiscing about their early years. "We clicked so well," she gushed. She was also anxious about the prospect of returning to dating, which she remembered felt like a constant stream of frustration. Reflective and growth-oriented, Juliana continued to assume, "I could've been better and it's my fault." Instead of mourning George's lack of commitment, Juliana was doing something I've seen many women do in the midst of a breakup. She kept telling me how great he was, seeing George through a cognitive distortion called the halo effect, attuned to his virtues and disconnected from his flaws. After hearing for months about Juliana's begging George to try a new couples therapist with her and his continuously refusing, her mother told her to quit pushing and go to therapy on her own. "Honestly, a part of me hopes that maybe if I fix myself, George will change his mind," Juliana told me when we met. Happiness Studies and Love Stories Juliana assumed that repairing things with George would provide her with joy. Let's see what research says about marriage and happiness. Given we're all unique, every relationship is an incomparable creation. Rather than sensationally promising simplifications that reduce the complexity of what we know about connections, I want to share a few broader findings on the topic of happiness with you. According to the classic hedonic treadmill theory, everyone's happiness seems to hover at a fairly stable set point throughout life. What that means is that neither hugely wonderful nor painfully tragic life events affect our well-being as much as we think they will. We get used to jewelry (including a big ring), a new house, and a promotion at work. We adjust to bad things too. After a breakup, we spend time with friends. We laugh and smile again. Generally, we recover. When it comes to happiness, the good news-and the bad news-is that unless we practice specific skills to alter our happiness level, we tend to bounce back to our baseline no matter what happens. (We will cover these skills in part 2.) What creates happiness, anyway? According to positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues, happiness stems from three factors: our genetics (e.g., that happiness set point), our circumstances, and our activities. What's noteworthy is that Lyubomirsky believes that circumstances, like finances or relationship status, generally account for a smaller slice of the happiness equation than our deliberate behaviors. What this means is that your actions matter-which is hopeful since it's usually easier to change your behaviors than to create your ideal situation. In case you're feeling discouraged by the thought that you might have a low happiness set point based on your genetics, as a behavioral therapist, I'm pretty convinced that it's possible to stretch your "set point" and that you are more in control of your sense of well-being than you might assume. Yet many of us chase a partner, running for years on the "husband treadmill," in the belief that finding the right person (i.e., changing your circumstances) will mean a permanently elevated mood and a happier life (I'm naming the husband treadmill as a riff on the hedonic treadmill, though this concept is directed toward any coupling). While happiness may surge after a great date and nosedive after a breakup, research suggests that eventually, it will revert to your mean, sort of like your weight after either a strict diet or an indulgent vacation. Despite what experts say about adaptation, running on the husband treadmill, like Juliana was doing, remains insanely popular. Clearly, there's a chasm between what experts say about joy and what the average person thinks about coupling. Juliana wasn't alone in her theory about love. In a 2012 Reuters global poll of more than twenty thousand adults, two thirds of those in relationships said that their partner was their greatest source of happiness and 45 percent of single respondents assumed that finding a partner would grant them bliss. This raises the question: Are people good at knowing what makes them happy? Juliana, for one, looked skeptical when I explained to her that despite what people assume, experts like Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who specializes in researching positive emotions, don't glorify coupling. In fact, Fredrickson says that the Reuters poll reflects a "worldwide collapse of imagination." She warns: "Thinking of love purely as the romance or commitment that you share with one special person-as it appears most on earth do-surely limits [your] health and happiness. . . ." She recommends thinking more broadly about closeness instead of confining love to a lover. (I'll talk more about this in chapter 10.) While I can't prove that Fredrickson is on to something that the poll participants missed, practically, I knew that the only way for Juliana to feel freer was to think differently. Chasing George, who, frankly, didn't seem worthwhile to me, was making her miserable. To be clear, I'm all for love and relationships; that said, there's little upside to believing that finding a soul mate is a promising shortcut to lifelong satisfaction. From working with clients like Juliana, I've come to realize that thinking that one person is your life purpose will either drive you to cling to a relationship or make you unhappy if you're single. Beyond Juliana's dilemma, why do so many of us maintain these miraculous views of coupling? One reason is that even as the numbers of single women increase, single status still suffers from a PR problem. Social psychologist Bella DePaulo has devoted her career to studying stigmas around being single. In one of her studies, researchers asked participants to rate a person based on the following description: "Anna has been living in Munich for some years. She is currently single. In her spare time, she plays the guitar and goes swimming." Compared to those described as in relationships, singles were rated as less extroverted, agreeable, and attractive. They were also judged as having lower self-esteem and life satisfaction. Are these prejudices accurate? While the single people described did feel less satisfied with their relationship status and lonelier than those who were coupled, their satisfaction with life, self-esteem, attractiveness, and extroversion were comparable to that of people in relationships. It turns out that not being in a relationship isn't a good predictor of someone's personality or happiness, despite prevalent stereotypes.

Editorial Reviews

Only book in the genre recommended by the Association of Behavior and Cognitive Therapy“Jenny Taitz offers a skillful guide to uncovering your strength and contentment as an individual, allowing you to live more fully. Using engaging case studies and solid research, How to Be Singleand Happy invites new insights into the stories we tell ourselves about relationships. This book is a gift for anyone who longs for real happiness.”--Sharon Salzberg, bestselling author of Lovingkindness and Real Love"Great misery can arise when our happiness is hitched to being partnered in an intimate relationship. Drawing on mindfulness teachings, psychological wisdom, case stories and research, Jenny Taitz offers compassionate guidance that can free our hearts from a binding cultural myth."--Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge“You don’t need to wait to find your partner to find happiness.  Drawing on a wealth of evidence and experience as a therapist, Jenny Taitz has written a book that’s as uplifting as it is practical.”--Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg“What if, instead of treating the unprecedented rise of single people as a crisis, we all searched for ways to make going solo easier, more social, even happy? In her clinical work, and now, in this excellent book, Jenny Taitz has done pioneering work to help people achieve more fulfilling relationships regardless of their marital status. I recommend strongly.”--Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology at NYU and New York Times bestselling author of Going Solo and Modern Romance with Aziz Ansari"Jenny Taitz has written a thoughtful, emotionally engaging book that offers plenty of insightful advice to modern women struggling to deal with the single person’s life and the ever-changing dating scene in the 21st century. Packed with real-life stories and full of useful tips, the book has a strong message of reassurance and hope."--Roy F. Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength  “At the heart of this honest and engaging book is a key insight—namely that our emotions are sometimes but not always helpful. And when emotions are not helpful—such as when we’re in the grip of anxiety about being alone forever—Dr. Taitz shows us how we can use scientifically documented methods for freeing ourselves from their painful grip. If you’re suffering in your quest for the Right One (or miserable from being with the Wrong One), this book is a must-read!”--James Gross, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Stanford University “How To Be Single And Happy is an excellent guide to living your life Now rather than waiting for the perfect partner. Dr. Taitz has written a powerful and practical guide based on the best scientific research and self-help tools to free you from the myth that only married people can be happy. With a personal and engaging style, Dr. Taitz gives you the tools to living a full life as a single person. I will recommend this wonderful book to anyone who thinks that being single is something to escape from.”--Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., author of The Jealousy Cure  “We all yearn for connection and belonging, but our minds get in the way, pulling us into rumination, worry, judgment, and other soul killers. This wise and compassionate volume helps us reconnect with our values and bring them into our hearts and our relationships with others. This book is for you if you think it is time to set aside loneliness and "not good enough", and to let go of ‘what if ...’ and ‘if only.’ This book is for you if you think it is time to live.”--Steven C. Hayes, co-developer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and author of Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life