Single Women: Can They Really Be Happy?

DEBATE: Can Women Really Be Happy Single?

When Tracy McMillan published her blog post "Why You're Not Married" on The Huffington Post in February 2011, she received ample criticism for telling single women that they were flying solo because they were "shallow," "selfish" and "not good enough." Though she couldn't have known it at the time, the post was also an early contribution to the national conversation that has evolved in the last year and a half around the increasing number of women who are staying single and why.

In December the Pew Research Center released data showing that American women are marrying later and less than ever. The numbers came hot on the heels of Kate Bolick's November cover story in the Atlantic, "All The Single Ladies," which asked whether traditional marriage holds any value for women anymore. Boston Magazine's January 2012 cover story profiled women (and men) who chose single life -- and are happy with that choice. In January and February, a car company and a bank ran national TV commercials targeting single women as discerning, financially independent consumers with ambitions other than marriage. Rebecca Traister, author of "Big Girls Don't Cry," is writing her next book on unhitched women and how we respond to them as a culture.

But amid all this discussion of the benefits of single life for women, one question that doesn't arise often is one of the more obvious: Don't women (and men, for that matter) still want to be in relationships? Given the choice, wouldn't most women want to find love? Can anyone -- specifically, any woman -- really be happy without that?

We asked Tracy McMillan, who just published a book based on that provocative blog post, and Anna David, author of "Falling for Me: How I Hung Curtains, Learned to Cook, Traveled to Seville, and Fell in Love" to debate that question. Below, vote on the issue, then read their arguments, then vote again to tell us which argument you found more persuasive and see what other readers thought.

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