As reported by The Guardian, professor of behavioural science Paul Dolan said on Saturday that while “married people are happier than other population subgroups,” that only applies to “when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are.”
“When the spouse is not present: f—ing miserable,” added Dolan, who teaches at the London School of Economics, adding, “The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children.”
Dolan's book, Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myths of the Perfect Life, uses an American Time Use Survey (ATUS) that polled different types of people — single, married, separates, divorced and widowed — to compare happiness levels.
What he found was that when it came to men, they seemed to get more of a benefit from marriage than women because, as Dolan explained, they “calmed down” after tying the knot.
“You take less risks, you earn more money at work and you live a little longer,” he said. “She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married.”
“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” Dolan added.
He also found that middle-aged women who were married saw an uptick in potential mental and physical ailments: "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,” he added. “Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.”
So there you have it.
Yep, we're going to take all this with a huge grain of salt (because there are so many women married, or with kids, who are incredibly happy), but if you've always needed a gentle push to just... do you, this might just be it.