Are single people happier than married people?


#1

My Catholic single girlfriend told me the other day that she’s happy that she’s single and thankful that she’s not miserable and married. She told me that she thinks that single people are much happier than married people and most married people are miserable.

I have opened up to her a bit in the last year bc I have been having issues with my marriage. My husband doesn’t help enough…I haven’t been very happy lately and my friend sees this.

My friend is turning 46 soon.

Frankly her comment upset me b/c even though I haven’t been happy the last year, over-all I am very happy with my marriage and new family. I love my husband dearly despite his short comings on the domestic help front.

She told me that she would never put up with what I put up with and that she’s glad she’s single. I responded nicely that it is good that she’s still single, but I was angry inside. I still am a bit angry.

Are single people happier than married people? I don’t believe so.


#2

Who is that guy with the blog that talks about women's "rationalization hampster" working overtime to justify their singleness? Dalrock or something like that.

I think most studies show that married people are in general happier and healthier than single people.

Don't let your friend get you down. Of course she has to convince herself that her state in life is right for her - and everyone else.


#3

As with all generalizations, it is tough to make that call. I think happy vs unhappy is too simplified of a comparison between the two states of life. I would say as someone who was single into her late 30's that life was less complicated as a single woman. Married life takes a lot of work....but doesn't all good things?

I could say the same thing as a childless couple vs those who have children. All I hear about is the negatives of having children and it is easy to think that we are happier than most couples who have children. We're not necessarily happier, but our lives are a lot less complicated.


#4

I don't think so, I believe their lives can be quite empty and lonely overall. But if it were me, I would be very careful about confiding your marital struggles with any friend but especially a single friend. This could fall into the area of gossip. And I used to do a lot of this with a married friend, I thought it was just venting but we tore our husbands down A LOT and it wasn't healthy for our marriages. I finally ended the friendship because of other gossip after realizing what I had been doing. Unfortunately this is something I still struggle with. No single friends but family members have heard too much over the last several years.

Back to your question, I believe that human beings grow within a marriage relationship. Sometimes that growth is painful. For some of us, any growth is painful. I am one of those people. I don't grow much in good times, I just enjoy them, I guess. But pain expands my capabilities and it also throws me back onto my relationship with Christ.

And the joyful times are better with someone who loves you and knows you intimately. To say nothing of children....I could write several posts about the joys of having children, as well as the heartaches and challenges.

I know that not everyone is called to marry. But I'm so glad I was, even if I struggle sometimes.


#5

[quote="Serap, post:1, topic:225232"]

She told me that she would never put up with what I put up with and that she's glad she's single. I responded nicely that it is good that she's still single, but I was angry inside. I still am a bit angry.

[/quote]

One more thing. Her comment was thoughtless and selfish during your time of difficulty. Of course it made you angry. This isn't what you needed to hear from her....and I would probably say something to her to that effect.


#6

[quote="baylee, post:5, topic:225232"]
One more thing. Her comment was thoughtless and selfish during your time of difficulty. Of course it made you angry. This isn't what you needed to hear from her....and I would probably say something to her to that effect.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

Very true. It was "I'm better than you are," instead of "I love you and I ache with you when you are upset."


#7

Everyone is an individual, it differs.


#8

Everyone, whether single or married, has problems that they need to overcome and challenges to face.

I am a widow now, but as I look back on financial problems and child-rearing problems, it all helped to make better people of my husband and myself. Going through family struggles, and even misunderstandings between husband and wife, can be a way of learning and growing together in their commitment.

The Lord needs to be first in all things!


#9

I read all of your posts and thanks.

Married life is very difficult. It is a vocation with many sacrifices and work.

Baylee, you were saying that people think you must be happier without children. I disagree. Some would be happier and some would not be happier. It depends on the couple. It would definitely be a lot less complicated with no children!!

My husband and I never had so many disagreements until we had children. Children make marriage VERY difficult. I can tell you that. It requires many sacrifices especially for mom.

I have heard though, that life gets a whole lot easier when the youngest is around 3 years old…we’ll see :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

Also, as for opening up about my marriage, yes, I realized that I shouldn't do that especially when 6 months ago, she told me that she didn't see any love in my marriage. I was like WHAT??? That came from left field since regardless of having a rough time in my marriage, it was a huge stretch to claim that there was no love in my marriage :eek:

Since then, I have only opened up about superficial things. I've only mentioned to her that I wish DH helped me more with the kids and that I wish he would give me time to myself. I also mentioned to her that I'm looking forward to going back to work so I won't feel like a prisoner in my home.

I never discuss any of my fights with her or tell her anything in detail b/c I do believe that would be too much information about my marriage.

It just bothers me that she takes the little info that I give her and stretches it to mean that I'm not happy with my marriage. When I have these types of discussions with my married girlfriends, we just laugh it off and say, "ugggghhhh..MEN!!"

I think my girlfriend has issues and she hides behind judgements of other people's lives.


#11

Just my thoughts...I think it's better being married-I did enjoy being married (was married twice, widowed once, and now separated from the second).

I think that in my case, I couldn't get past the problems in both marriages. I still wonder if I didn't try hard enough...rationally I say there was no more to be done, but, oh, well.

While I do have good friends and acquaintances, I always was able to be my true self to my SO, both of them, and I do miss that, you know? At one point my SO, both of them, was akin to my best friend, and I could tell them anything, do anything, share my true feelings without fear of being attacked, judged, whatever, you know-and he could do the same:D
While I don't have regular contact with my ex, when I do, I can still be my true self to him, and I sense he feels the same, as he tends to spill his guts when he does contact me:D

Then again, everyone's different. I would think in your case you might just be in a rut, so to speak? Don't know.
Is your husband aware that you are overwhelmed? He just may not know that you have too much to deal with at the moment? Guys sometimes tend to be in their own little world, and they might be clueless when it comes to the domestic stuff and the child care stuff.

I don't think it's that your husband doesn't care, I think it's just a guy thing, you know?

I sense that your friend might not been aware that her comments were insensitive. Some people are...well, a bit self-absorbed? I think I fall into that trap, and I have to recall that there's a lot more to life that I might not understand:D


#12

There is a story in our family that my grandfather, when hospitalized, had asked one of his nurses if she was married or not. When she replied that she was not, he answered: "I think I can tell you why."

His comment was just about as helpful to her as your friend's was to you, and just about as charitable.

OK, so your friend would be miserable if she were married, she wouldn't put up with what you do if she were married...fine. She's not married. She doesn't have to get married. Some of us aren't cut out for it.

She can't sympathize, let alone empathize, with your marital problems. She has no useful feedback to offer, she doesn't help you figure out what you want to do, she doesn't help you feel any better. She may be a great friend in other respects, but this is NOT someone to confide in when it comes to marital issues. There are many single people who can understand, but she's not one of them. Don't talk about your marriage to her.

Her assertion that most single people are happier than most married people is false....but I say that with a caveat. Health studies have shown that married people are, on the whole, happier than those who are not married. These studies, however, lump the single people who don't have a desire to marry with the single people who do. They lump the never-married with the divorced with the widowed. Having said that, it seems fairly clear from medical data that eliminating the institution of marriage would not make people in general happier.

I mean to say that your friend is being a bit jingoistic, so to speak, about her state in life. She is so enamoured with what she has that she thinks her own contentment must translate to everyone else, if they would only have the wisdom to think the way she does. I'll give her this one defense: I will bet she's had to defend her state in life far more often than you have had to defend yours.

Let's put it this way, though: When Catholic priests are polled about the happiness they have in their state in life, they poll higher than men in any other profession or state in life. It would be insane to conclude from their responses that all men would be happier, if only they had had the sense to give up wife and family, go to seminary, get ordained, and live lives of celibacy. Likewise, you might point out to your friend that a poll that said that married women are happier or women in consecrated life are happier or that women who drive long-haul trucks are happier would NOT mean that every woman would be happier, if only she had gotten married, gone into the convent, or taken up truck driving. It means that each of those are states of life in which great happiness is possible, not that any is the one that fits everyone.

Her hurtful comments are not OK, most adults would know they're not. Having said that, there aren't many people who are gifted every aspect of friendship. It is probably best to just accept that while she's a good friend in some respects, she's not good when it comes to marriage advice or venting, and leave it at that. By the way, don't be so "nice" that you stop telling the truth. Lying is not nice. If you pretend that you are OK with it when she makes hurtful comments, she's going to keep hurting you, you're going to resent her for it, and that is not fair. She ought to know better, but that doesn't mean that we don't all need a reminder once in awhile.

I think it is best to just say, "Sally, I'm sure you're sick of defending yourself to people who can't believe that a woman can possibly be happy being single. Well, it goes both ways. I won't put down your state in life, if you would close your mouth about how miserable you would be in mine. It just hasn't been the kind of conversation that has left a good taste in my mouth. I'll just talk about my issues with someone who can offer some helpful comments, instead." Then stick to your guns.


#13

I was married and divorced when I was very young, and then spent many years as a single person. While single, I was perfectly content and very happy. Now that I am married again, I find that I am also perfectly content and very happy. So, as someone else said, you can’t really generalize. It just depends on the individuals.

Happily, that has not been my experience.


#14

[quote="EasterJoy, post:12, topic:225232"]
There is a story in our family that my grandfather, when hospitalized, had asked one of his nurses if she was married or not. When she replied that she was not, he answered: "I think I can tell you why."

His comment was just about as helpful to her as your friend's was to you, and just about as charitable.

OK, so your friend would be miserable if she were married, she wouldn't put up with what you do if she were married...fine. She's not married. She doesn't have to get married. Some of us aren't cut out for it.

She can't sympathize, let alone empathize, with your marital problems. She has no useful feedback to offer, she doesn't help you figure out what you want to do, she doesn't help you feel any better. She may be a great friend in other respects, but this is NOT someone to confide in when it comes to marital issues. There are many single people who can understand, but she's not one of them. Don't talk about your marriage to her.

Her assertion that most single people are happier than most married people is false....but I say that with a caveat. Health studies have shown that married people are, on the whole, happier than those who are not married. These studies, however, lump the single people who don't have a desire to marry with the single people who do. They lump the never-married with the divorced with the widowed. Having said that, it seems fairly clear from medical data that eliminating the institution of marriage would not make people in general happier.

I mean to say that your friend is being a bit jingoistic, so to speak, about her state in life. She is so enamoured with what she has that she thinks her own contentment must translate to everyone else, if they would only have the wisdom to think the way she does. I'll give her this one defense: I will bet she's had to defend her state in life far more often than you have had to defend yours.

Let's put it this way, though: When Catholic priests are polled about the happiness they have in their state in life, they poll higher than men in any other profession or state in life. It would be insane to conclude from their responses that all men would be happier, if only they had had the sense to give up wife and family, go to seminary, get ordained, and live lives of celibacy. Likewise, you might point out to your friend that a poll that said that married women are happier or women in consecrated life are happier or that women who drive long-haul trucks are happier would NOT mean that every woman would be happier, if only she had gotten married, gone into the convent, or taken up truck driving. It means that each of those are states of life in which great happiness is possible, not that any is the one that fits everyone.

Her hurtful comments are not OK, most adults would know they're not. Having said that, there aren't many people who are gifted every aspect of friendship. It is probably best to just accept that while she's a good friend in some respects, she's not good when it comes to marriage advice or venting, and leave it at that. By the way, don't be so "nice" that you stop telling the truth. Lying is not nice. If you pretend that you are OK with it when she makes hurtful comments, she's going to keep hurting you, you're going to resent her for it, and that is not fair. She ought to know better, but that doesn't mean that we don't all need a reminder once in awhile.

I think it is best to just say, "Sally, I'm sure you're sick of defending yourself to people who can't believe that a woman can possibly be happy being single. Well, it goes both ways. I won't put down your state in life, if you would close your mouth about how miserable you would be in mine. It just hasn't been the kind of conversation that has left a good taste in my mouth. I'll just talk about my issues with someone who can offer some helpful comments, instead." Then stick to your guns.

[/quote]

When I saw your name on this thread, I was excited to read your insight. As usual, you have offered some great advice.

Thanks. I do have a tendency to be a push over and not tell people how I really feel. Assertion is not one of my strengths.

Next time, I will try it with her. She's a good friend, but she should know how much it hurts when she acts insensitive to my life choices (which I feel are very good ones!).


#15

Married life is a great challenge and has even greater rewards, my life as a married man is both more difficult and also filled with so much more joy than my life was when I was single, having experienced single life for the first 29 years of my life and married life for the rest of it so far I can safely say married life has made me far happier and fulfilled than single life ever did.


#16

I think it’s important to remember that the sole intent of our vocations (marriage included) isn’t happiness. We’re supposes to be helping each other towards heaven. Usually spiritual growth involves some unpleasantness.

Now not all of us are called to the vocation of marriage and it sounds like your friend doesn’t think it is for her, which is something to keep in mind. It’s hard to compare what we’re called to in life because we aren’t all called to the same path towards God.

From personal experience I am more happy since I’ve been married than I ever was when I was single. I was pretty bad at dating. And finding my vocation in life felt like finally stepping into the right place, where I was supposed to be all along.


#17

[quote="baylee, post:5, topic:225232"]
One more thing. Her comment was thoughtless and selfish during your time of difficulty. Of course it made you angry. This isn't what you needed to hear from her....and I would probably say something to her to that effect.

[/quote]

That selfishness is probably why SHE is better of single, selfish people do not make good spouses and never experience the joys of true love.


#18

Hi Serap…

What your friend did is called “leveling” she feels insecure about herself and she said something hurtful to you to bring you down.

Make a mental note that when you interact with her not to give her too much ammunition. Maybe swing the topic over to her likes and stuff. Talk about the weather or tv.

Sorry this happened. .Sometimes we end up letting are guards down with the wrong people. :frowning:


#19

Thank you for reminding me of this. I think when things get difficult it is probably because one or both of us are being challenged in some way. Hopefully, it is something that will make us not only a better wife or husband, but a better Catholic too.


#20

[quote="rick43235, post:13, topic:225232"]
I was married and divorced when I was very young, and then spent many years as a single person. While single, I was perfectly content and very happy. Now that I am married again, I find that I am also perfectly content and very happy. So, as someone else said, you can't really generalize. It just depends on the individuals.

Happily, that has not been my experience.

[/quote]

When I say sacrifice and hard work; I'm referring to when I had kids. Before the kids, my marriage was so easy. When the kids were born; the sleep deprivation and mood swings sometimes prevented me from being a rational person.

Over-all, I am much happier as a mom than I ever was before. My life has more meaning now and I am even more committed to my marriage b/c there are my little angels to consider now.


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