Maybe This Is Why Married People Want to Live Vicariously Through Their Single Friends


A groundbreaking new study has determined that the happiness of the person you are married to is linked to your own happiness, reports the Wall Street Journal. That means that if the person you’re married to is always complaining and nagging and annoyed and depressed, you probably will be, too! And if the person you’re married to is happy, well, it’s up to you to bring them down! As the Journal points out, “The findings aren’t likely to surprise anyone who is married.” (Nor, dear Journal, someone who isn’t.)

The scientists gathered “self-reported happiness ratings” from 178 couples every 7 years over a process of, in some cases, as long as 35 years. Then they compared them to random pairs of men and women who weren’t married.

Researchers found “sizeable spousal similarities both in reports of happiness and in how happiness changed over time,” says the study, by Christiane A. Hoppmann, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and others.

But what about the happiness of single people? Interestingly, our happiness (and sadness) comes from things outside of marriage and our spouses, since we’re not married. Things like our friends, our jobs, ourselves, leaving our dirty dishes in the sink for weeks if we feel like it, and doing other gross single things…So many moments for single happiness, so little time!

Huh, now that we think about it, those married people have it hard. That’s probably why they’re always asking us why we’re not married yet. Misery loves company.

Amazingly, the happiness of someone you don’t live with and perhaps don’t even know has little to no impact on your own, unless they trip themselves and fall and you get to laugh. Or they’re on TV. Thank you, science. Your work is done for the day.

Are You Only as Happy as Your Spouse? [WSJ]