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Do bachelors really have all the fun? According to a new study, married men may have it better than their single counterparts.
Conducted by Michigan State University, the study finds married men are happier once they’ve settled down than they would have been had they remained single in the first place.
Researchers interviewed 1,366 people both before and after tying the knot. A control group was used for comparison, alike in every demographic except marital status.
According to Stevie C.Y. Yap, of the MSU Psychology Department, the difference isn’t measured against how happy participants were when single but how happy they would likely have been had they remained unwed.
“Men are happier once they’ve settled
down than had they remained single.”
“People, on average, aren’t happier following marriage than they were before marriage, but they are happier than they would have been if they stayed single,” Yap said.
“Just being in a well-adjusted, long-term romantic partnership with someone may be the underlying mechanism,” he explained. “It may not have to do with the marriage itself, but the fact that you step up to the altar and say ‘I do.’”
Research has also shown many people have a baseline level of happiness they eventually return to after positive spikes, according to psychologist Marsha Lucas.
“During early romance, we’re getting all kinds of great, pleasurable experiences that are giving us a bit of a hit of dopamine,” she said. “After you’re married and the thrill has settled, those big, constant hits of dopamine taper off, and like coming down from a high, it can feel like a huge letdown.”
For couples on a happiness downswing, Lucas recommends openly communicating each other’s expectations and learning to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“The good news is that the two of you are in it as a team,” she said.
Source: Michigan State University. Photo source: cheyenneschultz.com.