Long-standing cultural ideologies of love have encouraged men and women to fall in love, get married, and spend their lives happily with their spouses. It turns out, however, that many single men and women can also be happy. And being single is not always a negative circumstance. Single women and men can be just as happy as those who are married.
So, do love and marriage bring us happiness? Or do we ourselves bring happiness to a relationship?
What Makes a Single Person Happy?
People who have never been in a romantic relationship or have never been married are more likely to be happier as singles compared to those who have ever been in a romantic relationship or have ever been married.
Researchers don’t really know so far why that’s the case because they don’t have direct evidence from their studies. An expert in relationship research, Professor Geoff MacDonald, proposes the following explanation. He thinks that most people intuitively know what is good for themselves and follow their own path.
Are You Happy to Be Single? Really?
The traditional beliefs of cultural love ideology are that romantic relationships and marriages are good for people. These centuries-old myths can create cultural and personal biases against being single. The cognitive dissonance between holding this cultural belief and the reality of being single can cause personal unhappiness.
Other people, however, can feel themselves free from the cultural pressure of such a love ideology. They just intuitively know and recognize that romantic relationships are not for them and that marital relationships will not make them happy. So, they decide to stay single.
When Divorce Is Bad and When It Isn’t So Bad
One of the challenges that can make people unhappy is a divorce. People who have been through a divorce tend to feel worse about being single and struggle with lovelessness. Some evidence suggests that divorce can be psychologically fairly damaging to at least some individuals, even though we as a society may not have thought this way.
Happy People Bring Happiness into Their Relationships
People who do well in life in general usually feel well in their lives as singles. Those who feel securely attached in their relationship don’t worry much about getting rejected by others. They do well in romantic relationships and feel comfortable in their close relationships with others. But they do well in singlehood too.
As Professor Geoff MacDonald said about this,
“Maybe one of the reasons for that is that people who are happier in singlehood are also people who have good relationships with their friends and good relationships with their families. And that skill set that comes with attachment security, the ability to be comfortably close to people, to take emotional risks that allow you to get close to people, that’s not just limited to romantic relationships. Those people are going to bring those kinds of skills to their friendships and their family relationships.”
Some people believe in the old-fashioned wisdom that if they get into a romantic relationship, they will become a happier person. People who are happy as singles are also happy in relationships. As Geoff MacDonald noted in this regard,
“it suggests that maybe the best idea is to get right with yourself first and go towards a romantic relationship when you’ve done whatever that work is.”
In conclusion, people of this kind bring their attachment security, comfort, and happiness into relationships if they decide to be involved. In other words, not romantic or marital relationships bring them happiness in life. But rather they themselves bring their well-being in those relationships (Karandashev, 2019; 2022).