News & Opinion | May 28, 2019 12:54 pm

Unmarried, Childless Women Are Happiest, According to an Expert

Men, on the other hand, actually benefit more from marriage

If you like it, do her a favor and don't put a ring on it.
If you like it, do her a favor and don't put a ring on it.
Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

Contrary to what antiquated patriarchal belief systems that still plague modern society may have led to you to believe, women are actually at their best sans spouse and children.

According to Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics and a “prominent expert in happiness,” unmarried and childless women are the happiest group in the population, the Independent reported.

According to Dolan, these traditional markers of success, which have often been regarded as particularly significant for women, may not actually correspond with increased happiness. “The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children,” said Dolan.

Dolan’s new book, Happily Ever After, cites data from the American Time Use Survey, which compared levels of pleasure and unhappiness in unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed individuals. While the study initially found that married people reported higher levels of happiness than their unmarried counterparts, those numbers changed when respondents’ spouses left the room. Ultimately, unmarried individuals reported lower levels of misery than married people who were asked without their spouses present.

Women who forego marriage and children also have a leg up when it comes to health. Unmarried and childless women tend to live longer than their child-bearing friends, and are at a lower risk for mental and physical conditions common among middle-aged married women.

Men, however, may actually benefit from marriage. According to Dolan, married men tend to “calm down,” leading them to assume fewer risks that could compromise their financial and physical well-being.

In short, Dolan suggests, “If you are a man, you should probably get married; if you are a woman, don’t bother.”

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