While the happiest of all wives may be religious conservatives, a happiness expert has declared that the happiest people of all are actually unmarried, childless women, The Guardian reported.
In fact, Paul Dolan — a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics — said over the weekend that such women are more likely to live longer than married mothers, the paper reported.
"Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they're asked how happy they are," Dolan said, The Guardian reported. "When the spouse is not present: f***ing miserable."
He added, "If you're a man, you should probably get married; if you're a woman, don't bother," the paper said.
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Men benefited from marriage because they "calmed down", he said. "You 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 subgroup are women who never married or had children," he said.
Dolan's latest book, "Happy Ever After," cites evidence from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which compared levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed individuals. The study found that levels of happiness reported by those who were married was higher than the unmarried, but only when their spouse was in the room. Unmarried individuals reported lower levels of misery than married individuals who were asked when their spouse was not present.
He added that women's health was mostly unaffected by marriage, although middle-aged married women were actually at a higher risk of physical and mental conditions than single women, the paper 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,'" Dolan said, according to the Guardian. "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."