Unsplash | Radu Florin

Women Are Happiest Without A Husband Or Children, Happiness Expert Says

If you're anything like me, you were raised with the belief that your adult life doesn't really and truly begin until you're married and have a comfy brood of children surrounding you and your happy spouse.

While it was never explicitly said, there's definitely always been an expectation in my family that your life should follow a basic path — that is, you finish school, start your career, and then settle down to start your own family and live in blissful marital ignorance.

But who's to say that being married and having children is what every person wants? Or if that's even going to make every person happy?

The fact of the matter is that it's 2019 and the idea that you absolutely have to get married isn't really a thing anymore.

Unsplash | Wu Jianxiong

People are living perfectly content lives without having a ring around their finger or a cluster of kids following them around. They still have loved ones, they still find partners in life, but these are the people who don't feel they have to legally vow their love to someone else or add more children into the world.

And that's totally okay. That's their prerogative.

As it turns out, women in particular benefit immensely from skipping out on the whole husband-and-kids party.

Unsplash | Michael Dam

According to Daily Mail, a happiness expert has revealed that on average, women are at their happiest when they're unmarried and have no children.

"The healthiest and happiest population sub-group are women who never married or had children."

Unsplash | Lesly Juarez

Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, put it in the bluntest terms possible while speaking at the Hay Festival on Saturday: basically, if you're a woman, you shouldn't "bother" getting married.

His conclusion draws from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) comparing levels of happiness between people.

Unsplash | Zoriana Stakhniv

The survey looked at couples who are married, unmarried, divorced, separated, single people, and those who have been widowed.

Overall, unmarried people reported lower levels of unhappiness than those who are married.

While women are at their happiest without a ring or children, the opposite is actually true for men.

Unsplash | Taylor Grote

Perhaps a bit surprising for most of us to find out, Dolan also said that men benefit the most from marriage because it helps improve their well-being.

In fact, men have been found to "calm down" once they've put a ring on it, so to speak.

"You take less risks, you earn more money at work and you live a little longer," Dolan said of this surprising phenomenon. "She, on the other hand, has to put up with that and dies sooner than if she never married."

So, bit of a rough deal for women it would seem.

Dolan also said married people lie about being happy when their spouse is in the room, but once they're alone the truth comes out.

I suppose this does make sense though, doesn't it? Why would you put your marriage on blast with your spouse sitting right there next to you? Just wait until they're gone and then complain to your friends like a normal person.

So if women are happier without a spouse or children, why do so many of us continue to seek these things out?

Well, Dolan said that since marriage and children are still considered signs of success, this can actually lead some single and/or childless women to feel unhappy with their lives. Thus, they set out to achieve those things.

But if Dolan's theory is correct, then they'll probably just end up sad again. So really there's no winning here unless you can ignore what society expects of you and just like your happiest life possible — whether that be on your own, with a partner, or married with children. It's your world, it's your life. Do whatever you want.

h/t: Daily Mail

Filed Under: