Women are happier without a spouse or children, says happiness expert

Women are happier without a spouse or children, says happiness expert

It's quite disgusting to think that it is only within the last 100 years of human history that women have been able to be treated as equals within society. Just a few short decades ago, women were expected to stay at home, have some kids, and have dinner on the table for when her husband got back from work.

Now, (for the most part) women are treated equally, with more women in management positions than ever before, according to Inc.com. And it's not just business where a 'women's revolution' is occurring - we're seeing the empowerment of women in sport, film and television, and in the home.

(And of course, this is only in the western world - there are still many places on the planet where women are treated as second-class citizens.)

Gone are the days when women were expected to take a husband and become baby-making machines. In fact, according to a professional "happiness expert", that's the last thing women need to make them happy.

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Speaking at the Hay Festival  - a film a culture festival held in Wales - on Saturday, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said the latest evidence showed that the traditional markers used to measure success did not correlate with happiness:

"Married people are happier than other population sub-groups 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."

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Whereas men actually benefit from marriage, according to Dolan, as it causes them to "calm down":

"You [men] 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 sub-group are women who never married or had children."

Dolan’s findings are featured in his latest book, Happy Ever After, and he cites evidence from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). This information compared levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated, and widowed individuals.

This woman has set up 'naked yoga classes' to help women feel more empowered:

The study found that the levels of happiness reported by those who were married was actually higher than the unmarried - but only when their spouse was in the room.

Whereas, when married individuals were asked when their spouse was not present, they reported higher levels of misery than unmarried individuals.

This certainly tells you a lot about marriage...

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Dolan also spoke about the health benefits marriage can have on both men and women, and revealed how middle-aged married women are at a higher risk of physical and mental conditions than their single counterparts. Whereas men actually benefit, as they take "less risks", the Guardian reports.

However, despite the benefits of being a single and childless woman, Dolan stated that the stigma society places on these women - what with the social expectations to settle down and have kids - can actually lead to some single women feeling unhappy. Dolan said:

"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."

But that's society's problem - not yours, ladies.