Marriage makes men happier than women

Is getting wed better for men rather than women? [Photo: Getty]
Is getting wed better for men rather than women? [Photo: Getty]

Marriage has long been flouted as a health booster to couples, with those who tie the knot more likely to live longer and have fewer emotional problems.

But a happiness expert has now suggested that it’s men, rather than women, who benefit most from walking down the aisle.

“Evidence suggests that marriage is better for men, not just in terms of happiness but also in terms of health,” happiness expert, Professor Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics told Bloomberg.

“There is data to suggest that some women are better off single in terms of health and happiness.”

It isn’t the first time Dolan has mentioned his belief that men fare better in marriage than women.

At the Hay literature festival in May, the happiness expert suggested that while marriage makes men happier and healthier, the opposite is true for wives: “If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” he told the crowd.

Dolan went on to tell festival-goers that the desire to settle down and start a family may actually have a negative impact on women’s wellbeing.

However, this is the opposite for men, as they benefit from marriage due to it making them 'calm down' and take less risks.

"The healthiest and happiest population sub-group are women who never married or had children,” he said.

"We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you're a man, you should probably get married; if you're a woman, don't bother."

His controversial views certainly seemed to divide social media with many taking to Twitter to express their opinions on the thorny topic.

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To a certain extent science seems to back-up professor Dolan’s theory. Previous research by University College London, the London School of Economics and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that women hardly benefit from getting spliced.

The findings revealed that women who weren’t married didn’t suffer the same negative health effects as unmarried men.

What’s more middle aged women who had never married had virtually the same chance of developing metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity - as married women.

“Not marrying or cohabiting is less detrimental among woman than men,” said Dr George Ploubidis, a population health scientist at the UCL Institute of Education.

“Being married appears to be more beneficial for men.”

A further survey of 127,545 American adults found that married men are healthier than men who were never married or whose marriages ended in divorce or widowhood.

Science has also suggested that men who have marital partners live longer than men without spouses, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage over his unmarried peers.

A happiness expert suggests marriage is better for men than women [Photo: Getty]
A happiness expert suggests marriage is better for men than women [Photo: Getty]

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But despite the benefits to men of getting wed, Dolan acknowledges that there are some gender disparities surrounding the expectation of who should marry.

He points out that having a partner and a baby are viewed by some as signs of success, and this could lead some women to feel unhappy and as if they are failing if they don't manage to find them.

“If you see a woman of 40 who hasn’t married or had children there’s a sense that people should pity her,” he tells Bloomberg.

“But people don’t seem to feel quite the same about a man who’s single at 40.”

He says the expectations place on us offer a one size fits all approach, that you can only be happy if you’ve ticked off these social norms.

Instead, Dolan says both genders should stop focussing on trying to tick marriage off our to do list and instead focus on enjoying the every day.