Relationship history does not impact overall happiness, says study
Some people say a loving marriage is the secret to a long, happy life, while others believe staying single is less stressful in the long-run.
But a new study has found that relationship status does not impact overall happiness.
Researchers measured the happiness of married, formerly married and single people to see how much relationships and love affected overall wellbeing.
It looked at the relationship histories of 7,532 people from ages 18-60, to see who reported to be the happiest at the end of their lives.
The study’s co-author Mariah Purol said that results, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, showed that although married people answered marginally higher, the differences were not substantial enough.
Married people ranked themselves a four out of five for happiness, while consistently single people answered 3.82 and those with a varied relationship history answered 3.7.
Mariah Purol said: ‘We were surprised to find that lifelong singles and those who had varied relationship histories didn’t differ in how happy they were.
‘This suggests that those who have “loved and lost” are just as happy towards the end of life than those who “never loved at all.”’
The study therefore shows that if someone who longs for a partner isn’t happy to begin with, it’s unlikely that getting married will change anything.
Purol says: ‘It seems like it may be less about the marriage and more about the mindset. If you can find happiness and fulfillment as a single person, you’ll likely hold onto that happiness – whether there’s a ring on your finger or not.’
William Chopik, MSU assistant professor of psychology, adds: ‘When it comes to happiness, whether someone is in a relationship or not is rarely the whole story.
‘People can certainly be in unhappy relationships, and single people derive enjoyment from all sorts of other parts of their lives, like their friendships, hobbies and work. In retrospect, if the goal is to find happiness, it seems a little silly that people put so much stock in being partnered.’
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