Single or in a relationship: How are women happier?
- A 2018 GSS Survey found that 31% of American females reported they were without a steady partner (single) whereas 42% of men were. 51% of all surveyed 18-35-year-olds reported they were without a steady partner, a statistic up from 45% in 2016. The second highest age range for singleness was 65+ with 37%, followed by 50-64 with 26%, and finally 35-49 with 21%.
- 2018 data from the CDC recorded 2,132,853 marriages that year—a rate of 6.5 per 1000 people. Additionally, recorded divorces that year were 782,038 - a rate of 2.9 per 1000 people.
- In a study on seeking happiness, researchers found that the female participants who valued happiness more led them to be less happy right when happiness was reachable.
Times are changing. People realize the negative stigmas around being single are factually incorrect and are no longer applicable for women. Studies have found that there is actually no evidence that married women are happier than single women in the long-term.
A large part of the explanation is that single people tend to have stronger social networks that directly correlate with long-term happiness. This is especially true of older people, for whom friendships are a stronger predictor of health and happiness than romantic, familial relationships.
In addition to this, surveys have shown that because of the way single people perceive learning and new experiences, they are more likely to experience personal growth. More recent evidence shows that single people also have stronger senses of self-determination and are naturally more likely to search for and value meaningful work, ultimately resulting in rewarding careers.
There is no denying that despite the intuitive and factual appeals of being single, romantic desires still naturally arise. But it’s now 2020, and 52% of all single people in the US say that they have used dating apps or sites. Women now have easy access to a plethora of immediate casual dating options without any pressure to commit to a relationship. However, this lifestyle once looked down upon for women, in particular, has increasingly become more common, particularly amongst young people. It’s clear: singlehood enables women to foster friendships that will award them long term happiness and careers that give their lives meaning.
We, humans, are undeniably social creatures. Even those of us who are introverts are not without people we consider confidants and friends. Women’s desire to be in a relationship does not signal weakness or submission to any perceived patriarchy but rather acknowledges the importance of relationships and their inherent benefits. Assuming a woman is in a healthy relationship rather than a toxic one, relationships are so important. Having a person with whom you can be completely yourself, knowing that person always has your back, and, yes, the plusses of the physical and romantic aspect as well, have multiple benefits for women’s mental, psychological and physical well-being.
While it is true that even non-romantic relationships have benefits, it is also true that there are multiple additional benefits to the security of a healthy, committed partnership, particularly a marriage relationship. The physical and mental benefits for women of frequent, monogamous sex have been the subject of several studies and range from increased self-image and lifespan to decreased frequency of illness.
Granted, being in a committed relationship has its own stresses that aren’t present for single women. However, these are outweighed by the positive aspects of a healthy, long-term relationship. Even simple things such as private jokes or verbal shorthand with your partner to signal time to leave an annoying group setting are small side benefits of having a ride-or-die person with whom you share your life.