Chat with a lonely wife

Her descriptions did something to me as I scrolled, word by word. I hid my face as my younger son approached, needing something right that moment, in the impatient way of the youngest child. The Pill was new when Johnson sat down to write her essay, and it had not yet revolutionized women’s ability to delay childbearing in order to pursue personal fulfillment and career success.

And so only 38 percent of women worked outside the home, most of them in rigidly gender-scripted and relatively low-paying, low-status fields—nursing, teaching, secretarial work.

“People who live alone do get lonely,” Klinenberg says, “but so do people in marriages.” Younger people have made living alone a choice; in the under-65 demographic, 15 million live alone and many are actively choosing single lives, at the same time proving that the old equation between living alone and being unhappy no longer holds true.

Younger singles are just as happy and healthy as younger people in committed relationships.

Those who stayed home spent an average of 55 hours a week on domestic chores.

Loneliness makes you feel emotionally isolated – like you’re not connected to people, or you don’t belong.

Feeling lonely isn’t the same as being alone, although the two can go hand in hand.

Some people are happy spending lots of time by themselves.

“Wives are lonelier now than they have ever been,” Nora Johnson wrote more than half a century ago.

Those words became the first line of a searching and startling essay, a unique amalgam of first person narrative, popular ethnography, and call for social change entitled “The Captivity of Marriage.” It ran in in June 1961.