It’s often said — and not just by psychologists — that people in a relationship are generally happier, but not everyone fits this mold.
In fact, people who are particularly afraid of conflict in relationships are just as happy single, research finds.
For some people, the everyday stresses and strains of being in a relationship simply outweigh the benefits.
Dr Yuthika Girme, who led the study, said:
“It’s a well-documented finding that single people tend to be less happy compared to those in a relationship, but that may not be true for everyone.
Single people also can have satisfying lives.”
The conclusions come from a survey of over 4,000 people in New Zealand.
They were asked about their relationship status and how they felt about conflicts in relationships.
The study found that people who found disagreements most painful were just as happy single.
It likely removes some anxieties about stresses within relationships.
The study’s authors explain that more and more people are living the single life than ever before:
“People are single more often and for longer than ever before, at least in Western societies.
More and more people are delaying marriage to prioritize personal aspirations.
Serial casual relationships are a common part of the contemporary dating scene.
And, as divorce and solo-parenting rates rise, so does the number of people who are single in later life.”
In contrast, those less worried about relationship conflict were happier as a couple.
The study also found that those who most tried to enhance the intimacy in their relationship were happiest.
Dr Girme said:
“Having greater approach goals tends to have the best outcomes for people when they are in a relationship, but they also experience the most hurt and pain when they are single.”
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The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Girme et al., 2015).