The Family Weekly: The Reasons for Declining Young-Adult Happiness

The ethics of the domestic-labor economy, a cross-border friendship, and Lori Gottlieb’s first patient

This Week in Family

(Kidsada Manchinda / Getty)

You can’t always measure happiness, but that hasn’t stopped economists from trying to understand trends among young adults. Last year, a record-low number of 18-to-34-year-olds reported that they were “very happy” in life. Some evidence shows that rates of happiness could be tied to the types of social ties people have: Married young adults are much more likely to say that they are very happy, as are those who regularly spend time with friends or attend religious services.
→ Read the rest


(Wenjia Tang)

In this week’s installment of The Friendship Files, two friends from opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border talk about a relationship that formed back when the border was so easy to cross that they did so multiple times a day. The fluid border culture between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, brought them together: They met at a high-school party, traded mixtapes, and wrote letters to each other when one moved to Boston for college.
→ Read the rest

More and more women have entered the workforce in the past few decades—and in a two-parent household where both parents are spending less time at home, someone still has to make sure that the kids are fed and the laundry gets folded. Oftentimes, that domestic labor falls onto the shoulders of other women, employed as maids or nannies or cooks. The journalist Megan Stack’s recently published memoir of hiring domestic help explores the ethics of affluent women advancing in their career by relying on poorer women to take care of their home.
→ Read the Q&A with the author

When the Los Angeles–born, Eritrean American rapper Nipsey Hussle was found murdered in South L.A. last week, Eritrean American communities across the country mourned a musician and artist who was invested in black communities, and someone who provided a model of creative success for first- and second-generation Eritrean Americans. For Hussle, a trip to his father’s homeland more than a decade ago was formative for the artist, contributing to his ability to unite his East African roots with his American upbringing, Hannah Giorgis writes.
→ Read the rest

What can a therapist learn when she decides that she needs to attend therapy? Lori Gottlieb, who writes The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column, shares an excerpt from her new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Here, she writes about her first patient in grad school. Much like students in medical school, therapists learn by doing. How hard can it be?
→ Read the rest

Dear Therapist

(Bianca Bagnarelli)

Every Monday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.

This week, a woman’s boyfriend didn’t tell her that he was still married when they first started dating. Two years later, he’s still not fully divorced. He wants a second chance, but she’s not so sure how to keep trusting him.

Lori’s advice: Reframing the origin story of the relationship might help put things into perspective. Ending a marriage doesn’t just mean ending the parts that were broken; it also means ending the parts that were comfortable and safe. The woman’s boyfriend might have been dragging his feet because of that emotional toll—but if she chose to stay with him during those two years, when she had plenty of opportunities to say that she wasn’t comfortable with the relationship, there’s probably something worth sticking around for now that the biggest obstacle is out of the way.

You can find your boyfriend unworthy of your trust and either leave now or cause him to leave later when he feels that there’s no possible way to earn your trust, or you can understand more about why you’re having doubts at the very moment the safety you wanted is in sight. Yes, there’s some healing to be had, but maybe it’s going to be less about his proving something to you and more about your expanding your capacity for considering another person’s story line alongside your own

→ Read the rest

Programming note: Beginning next week, Dear Therapist will be on hiatus until April 29. You can still send Lori your questions at