Why Married Women Are Happier Than Single Women

Husband Kissing his wife

After reading the University of Virginia’s study of nearly 3000 people to evaluate what makes marriages work, I was delighted to get validation for most of my theories that I espouse on this blog.

Among the highlights of the comprehensive report:

Women who are married are twice as likely to report they’re very happy than single women. 50 percent of married women say they’re “very happy” vs. 25% of single women.

65% of cohabiting parents break up vs. 24% of parents who had a child while married.

People who are married with kids are 8% less very happy than childless couples, but both relationships end up with the same marital satisfaction after 8 years.

People without college degrees get divorced 3x more within the first 10 years of marriage than people with degrees. Divorce has more to do with lack of employability and financial stress than education itself.

58% of married women prefer part time work once they get married. 78% of married men prefer full time work.

Regular church/temple attendance increases “very happy” reports by 9%. People who feel “God” is the center of marriage goes up by 25%. This has more to do with these people being commitment oriented than religious, per se.

Top 5 Predictors of Marital Success are almost identical.


1. Above average sexual satisfaction
2. Above average commitment
3. Above average generosity to husband
4. Above average attitude toward raising children
5. Above average social support


1. Above average sexual satisfaction
2. Above average commitment
3. Above average generosity to wife
4. Above average attitude toward raising children
5. Above average marital spirituality

Thus, this report suggests that one path to wedded bliss may be found by embracing an ethic of generosity that encompasses a spirit of service, frequent displays of affection and a willingness to forgive the faults and failings of one’s spouse. This spirit of generosity is all the more important as couples confront the challenges of parenthood together.

Remarkable, it’s everything I’ve been writing about for five years (apart from the God thing) and I didn’t even have to interview 2870 people!

So, to all you people who are perfectly happy being single, I’m thrilled for you – but the reason that people keep coming back to romantic love is that it has the capacity (not the guarantee) of giving your life greater meaning and satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with being “single and happy” (since, of course, ALL of my clients are single) but, according to this study, women who are married are twice as likely to report they’re very happy than single women.

Why do you come back to the possibility of love, despite its chance to hurt you?

Join our conversation (229 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21

    [email protected]: If you’re objective you question all findings and present contrasting points of view.

  2. 22

    I think that married woman can finally relax and don’t have the sense of urgency to find a man before its too late and they become too old. There is no pressure anymore and thats it!

  3. 23

    As a single woman, I agree that a good marriage will probably lead to happiness more than being single will.   And I don’t have any issue with the funding of this study: pretty much any study is funded by someone with an agenda or bias of some kind.   UVa is an excellent school so I cannot imagine that they would be any more swayed by a conservative bias than another top school might be by a left-leaning one.
    Here’s a   thought I have about all these kinds of studies, though.   Most of my girlfriends consider themselves very open and honest and would have no issue discussing personal details of their sex lives or bathroom functions with any scientific researcher.   Most of them married guys with significantly more money than they have, and most of them let out a huge sigh of relief when their financial future improved through wedlock.     I can promise you that not a single one of them would ever admit this to a researcher.     This is still a dirty little secret among well-educated, “modern” women: for a lot of them, climbing the socio-economic ladder is a huge benefit of/ reason for marriage.   I wish that more of them would admit it.

    1. 23.1

      And down the line when these rich, privileged husbands cheat or do something else that could be a deal breaker, then what? Your girlfriends suck it up like all other women who heaved a sigh of relief on their wedding days or get out and have their own lives.

      Being dependent comes with a great price.

  4. 24

    [email protected]: I am also puzzled–as to why it is so hard to accept that a happy person is simply a happy person regardless of that person’s relationship status.  And since it’s about 50-50 regarding who in the population is married/who isn’t, who marries/who divorces,  it makes sense that you have as many happy married people as you have happy single people.    


  5. 25

    EMK: Another thought–maybe you don’t meet many happy single people in your everyday life (if your social circle revolves around traditional family values people, as married folks’ lives often do), and in your work, of course, you meet only people who are complaining about being single. Perhaps you  really were not happy as a single person yourself. As you point out, we  all  see the things that confirm our world view and reject things that don’t.  

  6. 26

    Well, I can definately say that I was much happier during my 2 marriages  (well, during the good phase of each marriage) than I am being single. Whilst I believe its true that   – married or single – you create your own happiness, the difference is that now I’m single I REALLY have to work at it…. Work at keeping a positive mindset, work at maintaining a social life singlehandedly, work at planning vacations when the vacation I actually want to go on (2 weeks at the beach in Mauritius having lots of sex with a great guy who’s in love with me) is not actually an option for me… Work at occupying my evenings when what I actually want to be doing is cooking dinner and chatting to my SO setting the world to rights, work at not feeling overwhelmed when my weekend to do list consists of “call car repair shop, call boiler man, fix back door hinge, wash and iron, shop for food, sort out tax receipts….etc..etc…”  
    When I was married, I didn’t have to work at being happy and positive, because I was doing what I wanted to be doing and sharing my life and all the ups and downs of it with someone who was supportive, shared tasks, brought new social opportunities into my life and enjoyed going on vacation with me. Sure, I can try to do all this single-handedly, but the effort required to achieve the same level of happiness is enormous.

  7. 27

    I agree that being an in a good, healthy relationship is a huge step towards being very happy. The survey however, appears to have a real bias against couples that are not married legally: http://www.stateofourunions.org/2011/social_indicators.php#cohabitation Apparently, if you’re living together but aren’t in a legal marriage, you’re a “fragile family”. “The primary reasons are that cohabiting couples have a much higher breakup rate than married couples, a lower level of household income, and higher levels of child abuse and domestic violence.” But wait, there is more — if you’re remarried and have children from your previous marriage, you’re no better than those cohabiting shameless hussies: “The problem is that children in stepfamilies, according to a substantial and growing body of social science evidence, fare no better in life than children in single-parent families.”
    Ugh. There has to be a better study out there. I mean, how difficult should it be to conclude that a happy relationship equals happy people?
    On the subject, personally, I’m probably too grounded of a person to feel “very happy” on a regular basis, but I’d say I’ve been pretty satisfied in either situation – when I was married (if all was relatively well at home), single and not dating, or single and dating. There’s good and bad to each of these situations. I haven’t been in a really good relationship for any long period of time though, and I can imagine that being with a like-minded, supportive person would make one happier.

  8. 28

    This is still a dirty little secret among well-educated, “modern” women: for a lot of them, climbing the socio-economic ladder is a huge benefit of/ reason for marriage.   I wish that more of them would admit it.
    Henriette @28: I’m one who will admit it, although my husband probably doesn’t make significantly more than me. But, two similar incomes in the same household go MUCH farther than one income does!
    But I’ve always been a pragmatist when it came to marriage and family formation, and probably have always held a more traditional, “old world” perspective on it (although I’m not at all from an “old world” background). I always said that if I was going to marry, why shouldn’t I expect an improvement in my socioeconomic status, or at least, a maintaining of my current status? Don’t all parents want their children to do better than they did? Isn’t marriage one of the top five methods economists/sociologists cite for building wealth? While I would never marry for money alone, I don’t see why more women have an issue recognizing that marriage has never been only about love… it’s been about wealth, community and legacy building throughout history.  

  9. 29

    I agree 100% with Susan’s posting (#6). I was married 11 years, on my own 4 years (divorced over 2 years), and I don’t miss it one bit. Definitely been there/done that. I am dating someone but very casually and I have no desire to jump back into anything serious. Love my freedom and love not having the stress. I’d like to meet these happy women to whom this article refers.   Of my several close friends who are married, I can think of none that would say they are truly happy with their partners or their married lives. To each his own.

    1. 29.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re still not getting it, so I’m still gonna post. This study is NOT about unhappy marriages. This study simply refers to the percentage of people who say they’re “very happy” – and, as it turns out, more married people claim to be very happy than single people. This does not mean that EVERY marriage is happy; only that marriage has the capacity to make people “very happy” in a way that often being single does not.

  10. 30

    [email protected]: No offense intended here, but where does the study even say that? Can you point out the reference for us? That way we can decide for ourselves whether we want to believe Maggie Gallagher or other researchers. I mean, the media are flooded with coverage of bogus research all the time. And I read a lot about relationships and family, and I haven’t come across are any major studies that come up with the conclusions you  cite.  

    Also, to be fair, if you’re going to study only happy marriages, then to do a proper comparison you’d have to be studying also only happy singles. Because singlehod has the capacity to make people “very happy” in a way that often being married does not.   

    1. 30.1
      Charli Renee

      Betsy, You and Evan especially have me sitting on the edge of my virtual seat. I love this debate because all of you are making, imho, valid points. Please do carry on…:)

    2. 30.2
      Shelley Lane

      Betsey…all I can say is, You Are Awesome!   Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing some logic into this conversation.

    3. 30.3

      Betsey, if women are happier being single, then why is it that we women are so interested in getting married? Frankly, I see a lot of women around me that will never be truly happy no matter what they do. They weren’t happy being single, and then they get married and aren’t happy being married. I think some of the women I’ve known throughout my life, are just plain unrealistic. They put all of the responsibility for being happy on their man, or blame the lack of a man when they aren’t happy. If they aren’t happy it is because of their man, or lack of a man. They never take responsibility for their own happiness. Then some who do just go off the deep end the other direction, acting very selfish. Always putting their happiness above everybody else. Then they blame the guy when he leaves her.

      I have had some of those same qualities, as I think we all have. Personal growth helps alter a lot of that allowing us to become better people.

      1. 30.3.1

        I don’t see any dates on these posts, so no idea if this is a  really old thread.   This study is about percentages.   It doesn’t mean everyone is happier married.   Don’t lump all women together as looking for marriage.   Obviously if a single person  wants to be married, they will then be happier in a  relationship because they’ve fulfilled that desire.   Society makes us feel like we should be married.   I have found that  I am much happier single and I’m 40 so I’ve been in some really good relationships.   After time, I just want to be by myself.   So, I’ve accepted this about myself and that has made me even happier!   I think if more people evaluate why they want to be in a relationship, they might find that they  don’t.

        Some people have mentioned more financial stability in marriage because you have 2 incomes.   I might have an advantage on happiness being single because I make plenty of money.   So, I can see how that might influence some people.   Also, the desire for children is a huge factor in why people want to be married.   I believe this is a main driver and perfectly understand that.   I however have never had that desire.   Society just needs to understand that not everyone is the same and just because a majority have the same desires, there are plenty of us that don’t.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Okay, then don’t get married. Just don’t misread a very simple study: married people are twice as likely to say they’re “very happy” than single people. That doesn’t mean that ALL married people are happier or that ALL single people are unhappy, only that there is a higher ceiling for happiness when you are in love. As anyone who has been in love well knows. The only reason people give up on love is because they made bad choices in the past and are afraid of making them again, not because being in love is a worse state than being single.

          Happily Married
          Happily Single
          Unhappily Married/Unhappily Single

          Kind of makes sense that happily married would be at the top, what with all the studies that show that happiness is directly correlated to intimate relationship quality above all?

        2. Kay

          What a weird response.   That is exactly what I was saying.   It’s about percentages, I was agreeing with the study.   I was simply responding to the above post, not your article.

  11. 31

    I think that certain studies do emphasize particular values.  It’s also possible that younger people are more desirous of marriage and family than are older ones.  I just read about another study based on single and married people over 40 which found that levels of happiness were more or less equal.  

    Most researchers tend to lump all single people together, but  never-married and widowed individuals were happier than those who were divorced, although married folks did have the best mental and physical health overall. Single people do tend to feel less of a sense of community and family support, but when singles felt in control of their lives, and self-reliant, they had especially high levels of happiness. Conversely, married people who reported being highly self-sufficient weren’t happy about it.

    In any case,  both the  married  and the  single  groups appeared to have similar levels of psychological resources, such as “personal mastery, agency, and self-sufficiency, which predict a person’s general well-being and help ward off depression.”

  12. 32

    Either you’re an overall happy person or you’re not.

    This study found that more people who identified themselves as “very happy” also happened to be married. Not exactly Earth-shattering. My question now isn’t whether or not the study was biased, but rather how is this information helpful to a person looking for a significant other?

    When the author of Bridget Jones’ Diary coined the phrase “Smug Marrieds” I gotta admit, I sprung from my chair with a giant Amen. Someone had finally named it for me — that subtle, pervasive attitude of some married people that assumes they are, to put it bluntly, better than single people. In my circle of friends, co-workers, family, this attitude is found most significantly in married women. They assume they’ve found the sweet spot of legal marriage because they did something right. Whether it’s their first, second, or eighth marriage makes no difference. More importantly, whatever that something right was, their poor single friends have not quite figured it out. And they assume that those single friends yearn for what the Marrieds have. I find that rather demeaning.

    In my opinion, it all comes down to money. I’m not talking Money Buys Happiness, but I do know that financial security makes life a helluva lot less stressful. And less stress makes for happier people. As henriette @28 and helene @31 have pointed out, if there’s someone else contributing to the household maintenance, helping with the rent or mortgage, dealing with the lost internet connection, the dysfunctional car or the crumbling foundation, life is going to hold more moments of contentment. The vast majority of the married women I know, and a few collecting very generous spousal support after divorce, are better off financially than I am. They go on vacations more, shop more, bring more expensive wine to parties, have their kids in private schools & expensive colleges. They don’t work any harder than I do, they’re not more talented or motivated, and they certainly aren’t better money managers. What they do have that I don’t is a financial partner, known in most cases as a spouse.  

    I probably sound bitter, because I am. Sometimes. Just like married people get bitter. But truthfully, I don’t look longingly at these women’s spouses. Not that they’re bad husbands, they simply aren’t men I’d like to share a large part of my life with. Are they happier than me? I really can’t say. But I do think they’re more comfortable than I am in some very tangible, practical ways. I was married for 21 years, with kids, and now single for 10. Even though I have always been well employed full-time, there’s no question that being single brought with it financial insecurity, and this has had an effect on my stress levels and, at times, my happiness. But I’m a very different person than I was when I was younger and married. I’m happier now in many ways because I have more self-knowledge and self-acceptance. I don’t know & will never know if that same happiness would have come had I remarried.

    But back to the study — what’s the take away from these findings? Can single people take this information and apply it in any way they haven’t already tried? Should we want marriage more, now that we know our happiness levels might increase with it? If we want it more, does that make it more likely we’ll attain it? Or is it meant to induce guilt — implying that if we never “achieve” married life, it’s because we didn’t try hard enough? Or are we emotionally or socially inept in a way that’s resulted in the holy grail of marriage remaining out of our reach? Is the single, very-happy-most-of-the-time person simply deluding her/himself?

    Without disrespecting happily married couples, I continue to believe that some of us, perhaps many  of us, are very happy most of the time as single people, even though we might still prefer to be part of a couple. We have challenges of faith, question our place in the world, and feel lonely at times — just like married people. But we probably have less disposable income, and that’s what I think this study actually implies.

    1. 32.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Zann – you’ve always been a reasonable and semi-regular poster and I appreciate your contribution, as always.

      I wouldn’t begin to try to take any of your experience or observation away from you. You feel what you feel.

      The reason I posted this – the reason I feel that it’s relevant and possibly insightful – is because while you bemoan Smug Marrieds, I’ve had it up to here with Bitter Singles.

      The ones who protest too much and swear that traveling by yourself is better, card games with girlfriends is better, hanging out with pets is better – anything is better than a relationship with a man. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t enjoy all of the above. But I get so much blowback from women who tell me that happy marriages are impossible, dating is impossible, and men are impossible, I’m using my platform as a dating coach who believes in marriage to share a study that verifies that there’s a valid REASON to believe in marriage.

      In fact, it has the potential (not the guaranteed) to make you “very happy”, a status that is harder to achieve when you’re single. I found it harder to be “very happy” when single, all of my clients find it harder to be “very happy” when single, and without demonizing being single, I think it’s important to recognize that there’s a POINT to dating coaching, to understanding men, to compromising, and yes, to marriage.

      This study was HOPEFUL for me and I want it to be hopeful for you. Not because there’s anything wrong with being you or because there’s anything wrong with being single, but because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for women who feel skeptical about relationships.

      My job is to provide hope, guidance and inspiration. A study that shows that there are HAPPY marriages is one that I’m damn well going to share with you.

      And if it makes you feel bad about being single, then a) that’s not Smug Married people’s fault; that’s you, wanting to be in a relationship and b) by all means, use this hopeful study as a justification for getting on Match.com again and opening up to the possibility of love. Those are my motives anyway. I hope that sounds fair and reasonable.

      1. 32.1.1
        What is happy

        Maybe it’s that happy people are more likely to be married and happily so than the opposite? it doesn’t take a phd to figure out that happy people attract others and unhappy people don’t. Because the truth is no one can make you happy. You have to do that for yourself. Expecting marriage to make you happy is a recipe for disaster. I’m surprised that you as a dating coach would not acknowledge that.

  13. 33

    I agree with Zann and all the rest who stated that two incomes are better than one. This is coming from someone who, when married, maintained separate bank accounts, split all family-related expenses 50-50, and had major disagreements with the husband on the way money should be spent — he made fairly large purchases that made no sense to me, and vice versa, hence the separate accounts. But even so, it was so much easier financially. We could afford a much nicer house and still have a ton left over, because we paid for the house with two incomes and not one. My kids still miss the nice big house, heck it probably added a few years to my marriage — last few years together, I was probably ready to leave my ex, but I was in no way ready to leave that awesome house! (Interestingly enough, many men I’ve dated have told me the same thing — nobody says they miss their ex, but everyone misses the house.)
    Most importantly, since most of us are in an at-will employment situation, where anyone can get the ax any minute with no explanation, it feels a lot safer knowing that you have a second income to fall back on.
    I think, in fact, that these financial reasons to get and stay married, tie in nicely with the concept of marriage that I have, of two people working together as a team and supporting each other in financial and other ways. But it takes a very good match for a team like that to work out.
    Regarding the original study and its source, back in my religious days I read a short book by John Chrysostom “On Marriage and Family”. Talk about a biased approach, right? Well, somewhere in the beginning of his book he says that, while the thing on Earth that’s closest to Heaven is a good, mutually supportive marriage, the thing closest to Hell is not singlehood — it’s being in a dysfunctional marriage. So marriage is not a recipe for happiness in and of itself, even the holy man said so. When it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work in spectacular ways, to the point where you’re better off single. But when it works, it really does work 🙂 While I probably won’t remarry, I definitely hope to end up in a civil union that’s close to Heaven 😉

  14. 34
    Ron Diggity

    Married women are generally happier than single women b/c married women have doubled (or more) their income and halved (or less) their responsibilities.   It’s sort of like how my lottery-winning friends are generally happier than my non-lottery-winning ones!

    1. 34.1
      What is happy

      By responsibilities I will assume you don’t mean household and childcare responsibilities because it’s well documented that women are still doing most of the work around the house.  

  15. 35

    Perhaps one of the challenges here is that a lot of see the very limited agenda of the researchers, and have a hard time letting go of that. I know I do. One other thing I didn’t mention above was that somewhere in their research, I read a statement saying young men “need marriage” as a “civilizing factor,” something I find insulting as a man in his mid-30s who has never been married. The more I read of their research, the more I felt that they actually have a pretty negative view of people as individuals, and basically are pushing for heterosexual people to get married and have children so that said group can “save” society from the rest of us. Furthermore, the entire thing is tiered so that married, “church going” couples are presented as the best model. The gushing about church-going husbands being “more attentive” and more “committed” to their wives took the cake for me, but there were plenty of other choice moments.
    It wasn’t terribly hard for me to think up an opposite set of conclusions for this study. Just replace married church going couples with single atheists in terms of most happy. Here’s a controversial study that concluded that non-religious folks have “better sex lives.” http://www.alternet.org/sex/150978/atheists_do_it_better%3A_why_leaving_religion_leads_to_better_sex/?page=entire And then there’s Bella DePaulo, who is constantly advocating that single folks are happier in a manner that might considered opposite the Marriage Project folks. http://belladepaulo.com/singles-research-and-writing/ Those are just two examples of what I’d see as opposite extremes. I think the sex study has some valid points, and Bella is fascinating. However, in both cases, the strong biases and agenda’s present are difficult to ignore. And I also think that the sex study researchers had a pretty negative, stereotypical view of religious folks, and Bella’s writing isn’t terribly kind to married folks.  
    Which leads me to my major point. When research comes to such narrow conclusions, ones that suggest the vast majority of people aren’t doing life right, and that in order to do it right, they need to do X, Y, or Z, it’s hard not either feel bad about yourself if you don’t fit, or to be very resistant to that research’s conclusions. It makes sense to me that you’d share research that would help your clients and readers who want to get married feel more confident that marriage is worth doing. It just seems to me that this particular study offers a very narrow picture of what a “happy marriage” consists of, and is likely to leave a lot of readers – ones who want to get married or want to improve their marriage – out in the cold.

  16. 36

    At EMK (#39) — I do appreciate your feedback, and I’m okay with not having the last word, but I’m not sure you’re getting my point; probably because I’m not conveying it well. My point is that I don’t see why it’s necessary to give single people a valid reason for wanting marriage. Chances are, most people reading this site or seeking your services are seeking long-term relationships, including marriage. I know there are happy marriages out there. But I’m not speaking from a vacuum, either. I was married and committed for a very long time. And, as you know, I’ve also experienced the highs AND lows of being single after being married.  

    The focus of your coaching and your website is assisting single people in finding love, and I believe you’re very good at it. If you “have had it up to here with Bitter Singles,” I don’t blame you — especially if those singles are sitting on their asses and doing nothing proactive to meet new people, taking risks, and doing some serious self-inquiry about their dating and relationship skills and history. But I am not that Bitter Single. I’ve been dating pretty much non-stop for many years. I take breaks when I feel worn-out and then I resume. I have friends who shake their heads and imply that I’m a glutton for punishment. And yes, usually these friends are the Bitter Singles sitting on their asses.

    It’s possible that the single women you refer to, who swear their single lives are fabulous, are simply being their own cheering squads, to validate their singleness in a world that is still very pro-marriage. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m assuming the majority of the people reading your posts have not chosen singlehood as their relationship-status-of-choice. I get the sense that most who visit here are not here to get insider tips for lifelong serial dating, but rather are here to use your coaching services in hopes of finding long-term significant others. But regardless of your skills or your clients’ efforts and determination, the truth is that there are still going to be people who never find that long-term relationship and remain…..single.  

    Face it, most of the world still sees marriage as a happy ending, a success story, but the reality is that many marriages end in divorce. In spite of that, most people still desire being in a committed relationship. I think it’s simply human nature. We are social animals. But when it comes to happiness, I still say it’s an individual’s job to create their own happiness and then be generous with your happiness.

    I’d prefer to be part of a couple, married or not. That said, I don’t consider my single life as a waiting period. It’s my life, single or not, and I plan to make good use of it. But I do wish the Smug Marrieds out there would get that and respect the fact that married life is not the only route to happiness, whether you’ve chosen that route or not.


    1. 36.1

      “But when it comes to happiness, I still say it’s an individual’s job to create their own happiness and then be generous with your happiness.”

      Best comment here.

  17. 37

    [email protected]: I like Bella DePaulo, too, and I think her research is solid. I don’t have the same reaction as you to her frustration with married people–I suspect it’s the same kind of frustration that EMK is expressing about what he calls the bitter single people, but on the opposite side of the argument. For my part, I love being single and I’m happy. If I choose to get married I’m sure I’d still be happy because I tend to avoid doing things that make me unhappy. So I don’t relate to the comment about being bitter–I see  the situation  more from Bella’s POV, actually. Because married people do get perqs that single people don’t (for instance, if you’re in the Canadian army and die in combat, your spouse gets something like $250K, but if you’re single, none of your intimates gets anything. To me that is outright discrimination based on relationship status).

    Also have to say that  a big part of my happiness  derives from my  financial independence. I never wanted to depend on a man financially, and even during the ramen years I never saw getting married as a viable solution to my lack of funds or my uncertain financial future. Now that that’s all turned around and the career is going great I can’t even imagine giving up the reward  that came after I  struggled through those rougher times.

    And the  findings that say that people are wealthier if married don’t make sense, unless you take into account the financial breaks that married people get (like in the Canandian army example). Because if you’re a woman who is financially dependent on a man, you might be wealthier than you otherwise would be, but he’d be that much poorer. As for two living as cheaply as one–maybe. But a lot of single people live with other people, too (acc  to the Census), so that argument flies out the window.

    So I’d love to see more of these arguments broken out and explained instead of just put out there for us to take at face value. Like, how is it that married people are “healthier” than single people–what measures is that statement based on? If that is  true, what is it about a marriage license that makes people healthier no matter what the quality of the marriage? On the surface that seems implausible to me.   But these are the kinds of questions I’d want answered instead of having unexplained stats thrown at me.

  18. 38

    [email protected]: You bring up an interesting point. How many people are single by choice? There are never any studies on that, probably because most people can’t fathom that anyone would be single by choice.

    I think most people feel tremendous social pressure to get married (and to have kids, but that’s another discussion), so I’m not sure how many people get married by choice, either. In my family I can say for a fact that two of my siblings did not want to get married but were pressured into it, and a third has gotten married three times supposedly for love, but those of us who know her well see a very strong material need for her to be married, shall we say.

    I’m single by choice. I kept waiting for that feeling of wanting to be married on a day-to-day basis and it never came. (Not to say that it won’t–Gloria Steinem and Aretha Franklin decided to take the plunge for the first time in their 60s.) I’m never without an exclusive relationship with a guy, though, but I don’t jump from partner to partner. So maybe people don’t consider me single.

  19. 39

    @ Ron “married women have … halved (or less) their responsibilities. ”
    What? why? They have one more person (and, likely, more living space as well) to take care of. How does that halve their responsibilities? I don’t get it.

  20. 40

    Zann @43

    Great post! You’ve perfectly articulated what I wanted to say. I’m not single because I feel that “anything is better than a relationship with a man”, or would prefer to hang out with my pets. Despite my best efforts, I still haven’t found the one. Actually, most of my friends who shake their heads and imply that I’m a glutton for punishment, are the people who’ve been  married for years, and can’t understand why I haven’t found the guy yet. Maybe EMK gets the blowback, not because dating is impossible, but because dating and finding a great guy are so hard for so many of us despite our best efforts. I’ve been with the wrong man, though, and I can tell you that being single will always be better.
    And I just heard about a committed couple who’ve been together for 25 years without ever having married or lived together.  It may be unconventional, but if it works for them, why not?

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