Survey says couples who share housekeys but don’t tie the knot aren’t quite as happy as their married counterparts. At least the women aren’t.
A worldwide study of 22,000 women showed that married women are a little happier than those who live with their unmarried partners.
Why the difference? The correlation between a wedding band and extra joy was strongest in countries with strong, traditional views on marriage. This leads researchers to think women are happier when they feel like society approves of their relationships.
The Telegraph reports on the study, saying that while women in countries like the United States and Britain felt a little worse if they weren’t married, unmarried cohabitors in laid back nations like the Netherlands were just as happy as their wedded peers.
A recent poll showed that gay families are now more accepted than single moms in America. That’s great news for gay families, but might explain why single ladies are feeling like society doesn’t approve of their shacking up. More than a third of Americans think single moms are bad for society. Even if you don’t have kids, you probably feel some of the heat from that attitude when you live together without getting married.
I don’t think this means everyone should run out right now and put a ring on it. Far from it. Rather, it’s a reflection that social disapproval hurts. When we go around judging other people’s choices, we really do mar their happiness. Rather than starting a run on marriage licenses, this study should be a wake up call to adjust social attitudes. Whether or not someone else is married is really none of anyone’s business. The more we can chill about it, the happier we’ll be. For real.