Happiness is single women without children

Happiness is single women without children

Recently, I stumbled upon Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics. His latest book, “Happy Ever After”, discusses happiness data surrounding relationships.


Single women might be healthier and happier than married women and married women with children.


Dolan’s research showed men in comparison benefited from marriage as they “calm down.” He said: “You take less risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer. She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and she dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children”.


Dolan added: “Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they are asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f—ing miserable.


“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that academic science and just say: if you are a man, you should probably get married; if you are a woman, don’t bother.”


“You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children — ‘Bless, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Maybe one day you’ll meet the right guy and that’ll change.’ No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change. Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.”


Dolan said that having children can be harmful to people’s wellbeing — saying many parents might secretly agree with a famous academic colleague who “said that he liked the existence of his children but not their presence.”


“It would be categorically awful if anything happened to them, but the experiences we have with children are largely miserable,” he added.


Dolan said that having children is “an amazing experience” for some, but added that “for a lot of people it isn’t, and the idea that we can’t talk openly about why that might be is a problem.”


“…The legal system also needs to rethink how it favours married people. If anything, singledom and singletons should be celebrated, especially when wider social benefits are accounted for. Singles have more time to devote to meaningful activities that can benefit society, and they leave more of their money to charity in their wills.


“There is some pretty robust evidence, though, that single people are more likely to foster social connections that bring them fulfilment, whereas married people often find themselves with less consciously chosen social networks, such as a spouse’s family members…”

 Oh, perish the dreaded thought!


“Each of us as individuals can start by caring less about what kinds of relationships other people choose to have, and how they live their lives. If they are not harming us, why should it matter? Perhaps we do see them as a threat to the hierarchies and presumed order in society. Or perhaps we are a bit jealous of them having apparently freed themselves from social convention. Or it might be that we cannot resist making comparisons with our own lives when we hear about how happy other people are: if they are happy, then I must necessarily be less so, as if happiness were a zero-sum game. Whatever the reasons, the key message is that we need to become much more accepting of the myriad ways in which different people can be differently happy. In so doing, we could all become a little happier.”





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