There are a load of studies out there telling us when we’re supposed to be doing things – this is when you should hit those life milestones, you should start having kids at this age if you want more than one, and this is the age that Brits finally feel like real adults.
But whether you’re struggling to keep up with nonsense age labels, or you’re fully behind the expert who claims that women are happier – and healthier – when they choose not to marry or have children, the latest study looking at both romantic and familial relationships is pretty interesting.
A new study found that marriage actually leaves women more stressed out than starting a family and having children. It’s apparently less stressful dealing with baby cries, a lack of sleep and endless dirty nappies than trying to make a marriage work.
Researchers from the University of Padova found that 75% of the female participants were responsible for the majority of parenting and household duties, and one in five women said that the main source of their stress was a lack of support from their spouse.
It also found that a man’s health deteriorates considerably when their wife dies, yet women appear to be healthier when their husband passes away as they are better equipped to deal with stress.
‘Widows cope better than widowers with the stress deriving from the loss of a partner,’ Dr Caterina Trevisan of the University of Padova said.
Dr Caterina told The Telegraph: ‘Since women generally have a longer lifespan than men, married women may also suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life.’
It supports professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, Paul Dolan, who earlier this year told a crowd at the Hay Festival: ‘Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: fucking 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 science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.’
So there you go.