Single Women and without Children Are Happier than Those Who Formed a Family

    Paul Dolan, an expert in human behavior, also affirms that men benefit from marriage

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    During decades of oppression of women and stereotypes imposed by a macho and patriarchal society, “fulfilled” women were considered to be those who had married and had children. But the paradigm shift now also has scientific support. According to Paul Dolan, an expert in human behavior sciences and a professor at the London School of Economics, single women without children are happier than those who have formed a family and a couple.

    In a 2019 lecture at the Hay Festival in Wales, UK, Dolan presented his book ‘Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life’ and left some statements that,up to this day, have opened the focus on traditional structures in society and the concept of family. “Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room. When asked how happy they are, when the spouse is not present, the answer is: damn miserable”.

    “We have some good longitudinal data that follows the same people over time, but I’m going to do a huge disservice to that science and just say: if you are a man, you should probably get married; If you are a woman, do not bother about it”, Dolan added. Men benefit from marriage because it “calms them down”, he explained. “Being married they take fewer risks, earn more money at work, and even live a little longer. Women, on the other hand, have to put up with that and even die earlier, compared to those who did not marry, who live longer. The healthiest and happiest sub-group of the population is women who have never married or had children”, he stated.

    Dolan’s latest book cites evidence from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), a study that compared levels of pleasure and misery in single, married, divorced, separated, and widowed people. The study found that the happiness levels reported by the married were higher than the unmarried, but only when their spouse was in the room; single individuals reported lower levels of misery than married individuals, who were asked when their spouse was not present. Other studies have measured some financial and health benefits of being married for men and women, on average; which, according to Dolan, could be attributed to higher income and emotional support, allowing married people to take risks and seek medical help.

    However, this expert said that men showed more health benefits from feeling secure with the wedding ring, since they took fewer risks. Women’s health was largely unaffected by marriage as middle-aged married women are at higher risk of physical and mental illness than their single counterparts, that is, single women.

    Despite the benefits to women of enjoying a childless and single lifestyle, Dolan said the existing narrative that marriage and children were signs of success meant the stigma could lead some single women to feel unhappy. . “You see a 40-year-old single woman, who has never had children, and she says, ‘That is a shame, isn’t it; maybe one day you will meet the right man and that will change’. No, maybe he meets the wrong guy and that will change. Maybe she will meet a boy who makes her less happy and healthy, and who will die earlier”, added the scientist.

    Dolan defined happiness as: “Experiences of pleasure and purpose over time. Happiness is in the experiences that people have in their daily lives, in the course of their lives, rather than in the constructions of stories that they tell about their lives”, he explained. Furthermore, he explained how people struggle to understand the concept of luck while we struggle to explain it. He also reflected on poverty and the great inequalities in contemporary society: “The way out of poverty is not education; the poverty route is paying a decent wage to people doing all the kinds of jobs we always need. And, it is about respecting those occupations, that is the important thing», he added.

    Fundamentally, he emphasized that people do not have free will, and people must accept their inability to control certain aspects of their lives. He concluded: “The key here is that you do not have free will, and you need to overcome yourself”.

      At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel
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