Love & Happiness

The Relationship Status and Happiness

The question whether love really makes you happy Ruut Veenhoven answers clearly: YES. In his research he discovered that there is a strong correlation between happiness and love. For example he examined the correlation between a person´s relationship status and his or her perception of happiness. In the course of long-term studies people in different relationship status were asked how happy they are momentarily with their life. The result looks like a happiness-hierarchy, in which singles who do not date are the least happy. Singles who are regularly dating already have higher happiness scores which once again increases when they are in a steady relationship. Married couples have the highest happiness scores. Besides, this is equally valid for women as well as for men.
On the other hand it also means that disappointed love makes people particularly unhappy. Married couples who experience a separation suffer from a clear decrease regarding their happiness scores. After the divorce the score/rate increases again, however it remains under the single´s happiness score. Thus the relationship status definitely has effects on our happiness.
Nevertheless, not all scientists agree with the idea of the happiness-hierarchy. The scientists Bella M. DePaulo and Wendy L. Morris are concerned with the image of the traditional family and examine the stigmatization and discrimination of singles. Already the definition of singles as unmarried represents the imbalance of the social perspective, denying them a significant attribute. The American scientists criticize this approach as no longer contemporary. By this way singles are misjudged as rather unhappy, lonelier, and even less caring as they actually are.
Still the empirical facts speak for themselves: people in a relationship are, on average, happier than singles.

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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