While it may seem like getting married and starting a family is the key to happiness, more and more, research is proving that’s not quite the case. In fact, according to prominent psychologist and professor Paul Dolan, the complete opposite is true.
Unmarried, childfree women have it better off. During a talk at the Hay Festival in Wales, Dolan, a London School of Economics behavioral expert, revealed that according to recent statistics, motherhood and marriage aren’t necessarily guaranteed to improve your life.
Women don’t see the same benefits as men do when “settling down.” Sure, most guys tend to mature and come into their own once they meet “The One” and start settling down into adult life, Dolan says, but that’s just not the case for women. “The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children. I am going to do a massive disservice to [the] academic science and just say: if you are a man, you should probably get married; if you are a woman, don’t bother,” he said.
In fact, women are probably better on their own in the long run. According to Dolan, while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with getting married and starting a family, your life might be pretty good without it. “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**king miserable.” As for having kids, Dolan has a similar outlook, saying, “It would be categorically awful if anything happened to them, but the experiences we have with children are largely miserable.” Yikes!
The stigma around being single later in life is really no big deal. Dolan insisted that while staying single later in life might upset some women, they really shouldn’t pay much attention to what anyone else thinks or says about their relationship status or lack thereof. “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,” he said.
Obviously this isn’t clear-cut and if you find love, you should hold onto it! Dolan’s point isn’t that love is a waste of time, just that those old-school ideals that are continuously pushed that women need a husband and kids to be complete is actually BS and in many cases, it’s counterproductive. If you’re on your own and like it that way, there’s no shame in that. In fact, it could be the best thing for you in the long run.
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