Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Flying Solo: Single Women in Midlife

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Flying Solo: Single Women in Midlife

Article excerpt

Anderson, C., & Stewart, S., with Dimidjian, S. (1995). Flying solo: Single women in midlife. New York: W. W. Norton, 294 pp., $12.95 (pbk).

This volume represents the results of a qualitative research study in which the authors interviewed 90 unmarried women to inquire about the satisfactions and tribulations associated with being a single woman at midlife (defined as 40-55 years old). It is not a random sample; women were selected or nominated to participate in the study based on their having "successful" lives, success being defined in the broadest possible way. This focus represents both the strength and limitation of the book. It makes no claim to being a comprehensive study of single women. Women who are deeply unhappy with their lives, or whose lives look unsatisfying or unsuccessful to their peers, are not included. But finding that some single women are unhappy or unsuccessful would hardly be newsworthy, since that belief has been the cornerstone of common wisdom about unmarried women for centuries. The contribution of this volume is that the authors use the personal stories of their subjects to create a narrative about single women that has largely been ignored: some single women not only tolerate being single; they thrive on it. Here is evidence supporting what some men have always feared, that women do not need them after all.

Which is not to say that women do not like men. …

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