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Tags: age | kids | married

Are Single Women Without Children Happiest?

Are Single Women Without Children Happiest?

(Phira Phonruewiangphing/Dreamstime.com)

Wendy L. Patrick By Friday, 05 March 2021 05:08 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

There Are Benefits to Being Single, Research Says So

When a woman remains unmarried past a certain age, which has at least become a bit older over the years, we start to ask questions. Haven’t you found "Mr. Right"?

What are you waiting for?

Don’t you want to have kids?

Men of course are subjected to similar inquiries, although the questions are different.

Do we really think women should get married by a certain age, or are we just assuming as a society that there is an appropriate "time" to "settle down"?

Obviously, many women (and men) are happily married.

But according to research, many women are perfectly happy remaining single.

Single, Happy

According to happiness expert Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, women who are single with no children are the happiest.

Dolan explains says that while men derive benefits from marriage, the same cannot generally be said for women.

Dolan explains that men benefit from tying the knot because they "calm down."

They become less inclined to take risks, earn more money, and live longer.

But the same results do not benefit married women.

In fact, Dolan notes that married men tend to be healthier due to less risk-taking, but marriage apparently does not impact women's health — except to the extent that middle-aged married women have an elevated risk of both mental and physical conditions as compared with their single counterparts.

Dolan concludes that "[t]he healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children."

Relevant to the questions we ask our single female friends who have decided to fly solo, Dolan makes an interesting observation about the modern perception of success — as compared to the experience of happiness.

While society values certain types of life accomplishments and achievements, Dolan notes that recent data shows that "long-established, traditional symbols of success did not necessarily correlate with happiness levels."

Single, Satisfied

Other research demonstrates how singlehood for women is increasingly viewed as desirable. A study from data analysts Mintel indicates women are more satisfied with being single than men, and less likely to look for a relationship. Part of the explanation has to do with women working harder than their male counterparts in relationships.

According to Professor Emily Grundy, of the University of Essex, "There's evidence that women spend longer on domestic tasks than men and I think they also do more emotional work — so they still do more housework and cooking and things as well as more emotional labour."

Dr. Grundy also notes that women tend to be more involved within social networks as compared to men, who often rely strongly on their wives. In her words: "Women tend to be better at having alternative social networks and other confidantes whereas men tend to rely quite heavily on their wives for that and have fewer other social ties."

Single, Selective

Many single women are simply more selective in choosing a mate. Research notes how this explanation for singleness has evolved over the years.

Kinneret Lahad in "The Selective Single Woman as a New Social Problem" ( from 2013) notes that a study of American single women in nineteenth-century New England found that selectiveness was equated with high morality. Yet Lahad notes that the larger body of literature indicates that selectiveness is more of a changing concept, “dependent on a multiplicity of factors and relating to different social realities."

Lahad notes that modern selectiveness among single women often prompts practical advice suggesting that it is "time to compromise." Yet Lahad poses several important questions: how do we distinguish between selectiveness and compromise? Does compromising involve losing or maintaining control? And how could a woman remain true to self and also form a relationship — particularly if she is not ready?

It appears that despite societal standards that are somewhat outdated but changing slowly, many single women are enjoying the benefits of their selected status.

This article was originally published in Psychology Today.

Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, PhD, is an award-winning career trial attorney and media commentator. She is host of "Live with Dr. Wendy" on KCBQ, and a daily guest on other media outlets, delivering a lively mix of flash, substance and style. Her over 4,500 media appearances include these major news outlets: CNN, Fox News Channel, HLN, FOX Business Network and weekly appearances on Newsmax. She is author of ''Red Flags'' (St. Martin´s Press), and co-author of The New York Times bestseller "Reading People" (Random House, revision). On a personal note, Dr. Patrick holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, participates as a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, and plays the electric violin professionally with a rock band. Read Dr. Wendy L. Patrick's Reports — More Here.​

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It appears that despite societal standards that are somewhat outdated but changing slowly, many single women are enjoying the benefits of their selected status.
age, kids, married
Friday, 05 March 2021 05:08 PM
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