Are Unmarried People Happier? Here’s What Science Says

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There are 13 comments.

  1. Erin Coolidge

    I’m only halfway through, but this is a good one.

    Emily brings up a really great point that you need to be comfortable in your own skin and who you are to be happy, let alone be coupled up and happy. This is something I’ve struggled with for… well… forever. High school, college, then social media – “Xennials” or “Elder Millennials” never really had any reprieve from that need to “fit in” or “be popular”. I’ve always had my own interests/tastes and don’t mind doing things I want to do on my own, such as dinner, concerts, sporting events, the movies, etc., if nobody else seems interested (okay, so it’s more the norm than being social). Maybe it’s “only child syndrome,” but it’s kind of the part of me that I love. 

    • #1
    • June 4, 2019, at 8:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Lyndsey Fifield Contributor

    Erin (View Comment):

    High school, college, then social media – “Xennials” or “Elder Millennials” never really had any reprieve from that need to “fit in” or “be popular”. I’ve always had my own interests/tastes and don’t mind doing things I want to do on my own, such as dinner, concerts, sporting events, the movies, etc., if nobody else seems interested (okay, so it’s more the norm than being social). Maybe it’s “only child syndrome,” but it’s kind of the part of me that I love.

    Great point!! This was such a fun episode but I’m waiting for our single DC friends to listen and flame us for subtweeting them (what’s the word for subtweeting someone on a podcast?)

    • #2
    • June 5, 2019, at 5:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Erin Coolidge

    Lyndsey Fifield (View Comment):

    Great point!! This was such a fun episode but I’m waiting for our single DC friends to listen and flame us for subtweeting them (what’s the word for subtweeting someone on a podcast?)

    SubPodding? SubCasting?

    • #3
    • June 5, 2019, at 6:08 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. I Walton Member

    Difficult subject. Good discussion. Years ago, (I’m 80), some scholar discussed happiness as a temporary high, I don’t remember who, where or when, but I still believe it. A twinge, you win a race, get the highest grade in class, meet a new really interesting other person etc. get a promotion, these produce short bursts of happiness, but it’s not a permanent condition and couldn’t be. Content, purposeful, focused, were among the positive conditions, that endure and give rise to those times of happiness. Unsure, confused, purposeless were among the negatives that didn’t produce many happy moments. But that’s not a permanent condition either. Then there’s good luck and bad luck, and it happens. How one responds to it matters greatly. The more real experience one has at an early age the depth of self understanding and of basic reality helps develop these attitudes. Kids don’t have much real experience until they leave college or the equivalent now days and that has negative effects on this process and I suspect there is more impact than just delayed maturity. Maybe that’s why I find skilled workers I hire more adult and mature than some of the highly educated I’ve worked with or know.

    • #4
    • June 5, 2019, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Lyndsey Fifield Contributor

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Difficult subject. Good discussion. Years ago, (I’m 80), some scholar discussed happiness as a temporary high, I don’t remember who, where or when, but I still believe it. A twinge, you win a race, get the highest grade in class, meet a new really interesting other person etc. get a promotion, these produce short bursts of happiness, but it’s not a permanent condition and couldn’t be. Content, purposeful, focused, were among the positive conditions, that endure and give rise to those times of happiness. Unsure, confused, purposeless were among the negatives that didn’t produce many happy moments. But that’s not a permanent condition either. Then there’s good luck and bad luck, and it happens. How one responds to it matters greatly. The more real experience one has at an early age the depth of self understanding and of basic reality helps develop these attitudes. Kids don’t have much real experience until they leave college or the equivalent now days and that has negative effects on this process and I suspect there is more impact than just delayed maturity. Maybe that’s why I find skilled workers I hire more adult and mature than some of the highly educated I’ve worked with or know.

    YES! Precisely—would you mind if we shared this comment on our Twitter and Instagram feeds? 

    • #5
    • June 5, 2019, at 6:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Michelle Cordero Contributor

    I’m always fascinated with the study of happiness. I 100% believe it’s not found in “things” because the goal post is moving but a theory taken from Shawn Anchor is that happiness is the joy you find while striving toward your potential. Emily found happiness at one point her garden, the joy in the success of what it was or would become. I find joy in my Orange Theory classes as I strive to become more fit. Or joy in producing a potentially GREAT podcast. This was a good one guys. Love this topic! It gets contentious when you start talking about if you should marry or not. I think that just might depend on the person. I do believe that God created us to find a partner and create life. There is joy in that. There is joy in friendship and companionship. Relationships aren’t easy, but the pay off is big. I could go on and on. Great topic! :) 

    • #6
    • June 5, 2019, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Django Member

    Happy? Probably not, but mostly content. That condition comes from keeping two things in mind. Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans, and most important: The fun is in the trip, not the destination. 

    • #7
    • June 5, 2019, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Unsk Member

    Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said:

    “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

    I thoroughly agree with this quote.

    Since I live in Southern California I know a lot of immigrants. If you talk to them for a while, you may hear something like that the people in these very small villages of almost abject poverty in places like Peru, Chile or Guatemala where these immigrants originated despite their poverty were actually happy and much happier than the people here in LA. 

    I don’t doubt this. While I didn’t listen to the podcast – I don’t do podcasts – I believe the idea that single women are the most happy people on earth to be utterly ridiculous.

     I have a twenty something daughter who is quite social and has many, many friends, mostly young women. These young women, other than my daughter, while mostly attractive, and who actually live quite pampered privileged lives find the most insane reasons to be unhappy. The same could be said for these characters on these Real Housewife shows who live luxurious, pampered lives but who seemingly can find something to be annoyed at and even over the top angry about at the drop of a hat. 

    People choose to be happy. It is the way they look at things kinda like the idea that every new day is a gift, not a curse. 

    • #8
    • June 5, 2019, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Erin Coolidge

    Michelle Cordero (View Comment):

    I’m always fascinated with the study of happiness. I 100% believe it’s not found in “things” because the goal post is moving but a theory taken from Shawn Anchor is that happiness is the joy you find while striving toward your potential. Emily found happiness at one point her garden, the joy in the success of what it was or would become. I find joy in my Orange Theory classes as I strive to become more fit. Or joy in producing a potentially GREAT podcast. This was a good one guys. Love this topic! It gets contentious when you start talking about if you should marry or not. I think that just might depend on the person. I do believe that God created us to find a partner and create life. There is joy in that. There is joy in friendship and companionship. Relationships aren’t easy, but the pay off is big. I could go on and on. Great topic! :)

    One of the biggest things that I learned in life was that letting things happen when you aren’t expecting them to is when you’ll get the biggest payoff. 

    For example: My now husband and I have known each other since we were 12. We dated off-and-on, and lived thousands of miles away for a good portion of that time. I had a bad breakup my junior year of college and didn’t date – I was happier focusing on exercise, studying, work, and just having fun at campus events with friends. About a year later, Mr. and I began talking more often and he coerced me to fly (for the first time ever at 22!) to Atlanta, and the rest is history. 

    My point is that if I wasn’t happy with myself, this probably wouldn’t have happened. I could’ve been mopey and perpetually single, living at home if I hadn’t figured out my own happiness first.

    • #9
    • June 5, 2019, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Stad Thatcher

    Polls aren’t science because opinions vary for unscientific, non-logical, or even statistical reasons. Besides, people lie to pollsters. As for poll statistics derived from polling data, statistics is merely a mathematical tool used to analyze the data. As the old saying goes: “You can torture the data enough to give you whatever result you want.”

    But the wisdom of your observation – what makes you happy changes depending on your situation and over your life – is something I bet the unmarried, childless women who responded to the poll never considered. And when you pointed out how attitude also affects your happiness, that was icing on the cake.

    Great podcast!

    • #10
    • June 5, 2019, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    Happiness may be interesting to measure, and your suggestions are good. But our own happiness is not the reason we are on this earth.

    Excessive focus on “who is happiest” to emulate them (“single people with no children are happiest,” “residents of Country N are happiest on earth,” etc.) is not necessarily productive, as it pushes “happiness” as a life goal. Happiness may be a byproduct of living a worthwhile life, but if it becomes THE focus of life, the life lived in pursuit of happiness is likely to be shallow and ultimately unsatisfying.

    • #11
    • June 5, 2019, at 9:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. I Walton Member

    Lyndsey Fifield (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Difficult subject. Good discussion. Years ago, (I’m 80), some scholar discussed happiness as a temporary high, I don’t remember who, where or when, but I still believe it. A twinge, you win a race, get the highest grade in class, meet a new really interesting other person etc. get a promotion, these produce short bursts of happiness, but it’s not a permanent condition and couldn’t be. Content, purposeful, focused, were among the positive conditions, that endure and give rise to those times of happiness. Unsure, confused, purposeless were among the negatives that didn’t produce many happy moments. But that’s not a permanent condition either. Then there’s good luck and bad luck, and it happens. How one responds to it matters greatly. The more real experience one has at an early age the depth of self understanding and of basic reality helps develop these attitudes. Kids don’t have much real experience until they leave college or the equivalent now days and that has negative effects on this process and I suspect there is more impact than just delayed maturity. Maybe that’s why I find skilled workers I hire more adult and mature than some of the highly educated I’ve worked with or know.

    YES! Precisely—would you mind if we shared this comment on our Twitter and Instagram feeds?

    Public space, public comments, and always welcome, right?

    • #12
    • June 5, 2019, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Hank Rhody, on the blockchain Contributor

    I don’t recall where I read this now, but I believe the study y’all are referencing is, in the technical sense, bunkum.

    He’s correllating poll data where the spouse is marked ‘absent’ with happiness levels. He’s assuming ‘absent’ means the husband isn’t in the room when the pollster is asking. It actually means the husband is absent for long periods of time; ie he’s in the military and deployed.

    Nevermind all the technical details of sample size and question wording and whatnot; if the guy studying the data doesn’t understand the question that’s asked you’re only ever going to get stupid results.

    • #13
    • June 8, 2019, at 9:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like