And they live longer
Women are constantly bombarded with stats linking age to marriage and fertility. We’re told that if you want more than one child, you need to have your first by this age. We’re told that this is the best age to get married. And we’re told that this is when you should hit certain life milestones.
But according to a behavioural and happiness expert, those who decide not to get married and have children are healthier and happier.
Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, told the Hay Festival on Saturday that women who decided against settling down are the happiest.
He said: ‘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.
Men reportedly benefit from marriage, with Professor Dolan stating: ‘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 dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children.’
The expert bases his claims on evidence from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) which compared levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed individuals. He has included the data in his latest book, Happy Ever After, as the study found that those in the unmarried category tended to have lower levels of misery than their coupled up counterparts.
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He concluded: ‘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.’
So there you go.