Married vs. Single Women: Who’s Happier and How?
Many single women spend their bachelorette days longing for their soulmates, assuming that finding one is the answer to ultimate happiness. I won’t deny that finding your match is incomparably fulfilling, but “marriage” isn’t a simple solution; settling down with the wrong guy can actually have the opposite effect.
While marriage has been proven to contribute to longer lives and better overall health, happiness is more difficult to quantify. In 2021, Valentine’s Day celebrations saw many people embrace at-home activities that accommodated social distancing, with 41% having their romantic dates at home, and many doing so virtually. But guess what, even couples who live together have endured the implications of social distancing, with many feeling as though they’re spending too much time together and are less able to create intimacy.
Most people tend to have a certain demeanor and outlook they carry throughout life that serves as their happiness baseline—no matter if they’re single or coupled—and finding the right man will supplement but not necessarily change that.
Though I can’t tell you whether marriage is your answer to happiness, I can share the three phases of your relationship with yourself and another that, if carefully cultivated, will lead you toward a path to marital success and happiness.
You may have dismissed the slew of articles, blog posts, dating coaches and therapists who have admonished that you must be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else, but the reason you’re hearing it everywhere is because it’s true. Not only happy, but joyous. Not settling or coping, but able to cultivate joy and self love from within. If you’re generally unhappy and place most of the blame on your single status, it’s time to dig deep and find out where your unhappiness really stems from; you may be surprised at what you find.
While a well-matched partner can certainly help sort out or assuage those issues, these are often things that are best identified and worked through before merging your life with someone else’s. Prioritizing soul searching before soulmate searching will ultimately set you up for stronger-footed happiness in the long run, and it will even help you attract better quality potential mates.
There’s nothing wrong with dating around and making mistakes, but remember that time spent with a bum is time you could be spending with your future husband. Even if you believe in love at first sight, there’s no surefire way to know for sure if you’ve just met the love of your life. But by recognizing what to keep an eye out for on the outset, you’ll at least filter out a lot of the duds. Much of this comes from shaking any physical requirements you’ve put in place and opening yourself up to some of the more foundational qualities that will last longer than looks.
Once your relationship with a potential life partner is underway, the key predictors for marital success really come into play. This is when you begin to discuss more serious plans, ideals and values that set the stage for your married life with this person. Although topics such as finances and family planning may seem far more logistical than romantic, married and divorced couples alike will tell you these subjects are worth serious discussion.
Happily married couples will have established a foundation of trust, shared hobbies and interests, a healthy communication dynamic. Luckily, entering into a relationship with a great sense of self and a carefully selected partner will help these discussions to more seamlessly fall into place.