Who is happier, those in a relationship, or those who are not?

Poll coming. Decided after some thought for the question to be on your relationship status per se.

Me, after some rather bizarre actions by the women I’ve attempted to date over the years has kind of soured me on the whole thing, have decided I am happier by myself (esp. given how fulfilling many of the other aspects of my life are now). Not 100% sure I am missing anything, to be honest.

The answer depends on you and also depends on the other person you are in a relationship with.

I believe I read in a book by Martin Seligman, who writes about positive psychology, that happier people were more likely to be in long term relationships. But I don’t know if that is cause or effect. Happy, easygoing, low maintenance people make for better long term partners and give less reason to break up with them. So are they happy because they are in relationships, or are they in relationships because unlike mean, selfish, crazy people they are easy to put up with?

There are so few days since I turned 15 that I wasn’t in one relationship or another that I can’t judge very well. I just know that since I really got interested in the opposite sex as the opposite sex I’ve enjoyed having someone to share things with; tough thing to do alone.

I’ve worked really hard at becoming a “level 4 unattached” heh

I’m not a 5- I am not completely against having someone to be with. It would be nice, if I was with someone who met my needs precisely.

But I am super comfortable on my own and often feel that being attached would change me in ways that I don’t need/want to be changed.

This is just how I feel about me and my situation, though. I don’t dare judge anyone else’s happiness with their relationships. Not my business.

I’m a contented unattached. I have never been so unhappy as I was in the worst relationship of my life nor so happy as I was in the best.

It’s an unanswerable question. Some will always be happier single, others attached. Depends.

What I came to say, too. There is nothing more wonderful than a relationship that works. There is nothing more miserable than one that doesn’t. Being alone is far preferable.

I’d love to be in a great relationship again. But I know better than to force it. Worth waiting for the right one, and if it never turns up, I’m fine with that.

Oh, well, now that I read the poll, which is somewhat different from the title, I put a 5 for Happy in My Relationship. Decades of married bliss.

I was married for 10 years and in a relationship with the same person for a total of 17 years. It screwed me up in ways that were obvious to the rest of my family. I will never do it again.

I have gone out with tons of women since then and all I see is them wanting $$$$$$ or attention away from the things that I really care about (my daughters first and the rest of my family second). I will happily sleep with them but I am never going to be a stepparent, a caretaker, support the household when they screw up or let someone have complete access to my privacy so there is no point in keeping them around. I already have female friends that I actually care about. The transient ones are expendable.

I LOVE being single. Every day is like Christmas morning when I was 5 years old. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and don’t even have to tell anyone what, where or why. If someone wants to grab a burger or even go to a club in the next state after work, that sounds great and I can make it happen. I also don’t have to deal with a constant stream of fake emergencies that require money and time to deal with. Don’t even mention the pseudo-slavery that American wives seem to expect these days ranging from “honey-do” lists to tightly controlled social plans. No thanks, it would be a better deal if I just sold myself into slavery to an African tribe and just pocketed the money.

Before, you tell me that your relationship isn’t like that or I wasn’t doing it right in the first place, I simply don’t care. I have already been through those counseling sessions and I still have no idea why someone would want to be married. The books and counselors always say it is hard work but I am a problem solver and I always think that, if it hurts when you keep banging your thumb with a hammer, maybe carpentry just isn’t for you. Like my father said after three costly divorces, “I just don’t think we are the marrying type”. That is true but I am a faster learner than he is.

I’ve been with my husband for over 29 years, and whatever happiness there is in my life I attribute to him. Oh, I used to have other things that made me happy - work, hobbies, friends, etc. - but these days he’s the source of all that is good in my life.

We are both very private people. We each have our own lives are respect each other’s privacy. The only time we were miserable together was when we tried to live together in a tiny NYC apartment, and were constantly in each other’s hair. Those days are over.

For the past 20 months, due to my health problems, I’ve been relying on my husband for just about everything. He keeps me going, doing all the housework, yard work and chores, and hasn’t complained once. And most importantly, he keeps my spirit up. I don’t think I’d still be around if it weren’t for him. This is a new kind of dependence for me. I’ve always been a very self-reliant person, but as people age, shit happens, and we have to adjust. Even when my husband is out of town on business, it’s the knowledge that he’ll return that makes my life bearable.

He’s my husband, my lover, my best friend, my companion. These days he’s my savior.

I realize that not all relationships are like ours. Lord knows, we’d both had our share of failed relationships for all sorts of reasons. And it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that, through pure dumb luck, I happened to stumble across the right man. We both knew immediately that we’d be spending the rest of our lives together.

The sentiment I have encountered in my conversations with other people is that once we get into a habit of living a certain way, we are uncomfortable with the idea of changing our lifestyle. So a single person is usually most unhappy when he recently got out of a relationship, and an attached person is most – well, unhappy’s not the word, but I guess nervous and uneasy – when he’s just gotten into a relationship. Once we’ve settled into our lifestyle, the idea of change scares us more than anything.

P.S. I voted attached, 4, because my husband has an unpredictable work schedule, and some days it essentially feels like I’m single because he’s not home for dinner or even by the time I go to bed. Because of his job, it’s impossible to fall into a predictable rhythm, and that’s not fun. But I do feel like my spouse was a good pick, when you ignore his job and focus on his own personality (and looks – he’s hot!).

That’s pretty funny. I didn’t really care about the post or the survey, but when I saw the title, I thought “I’ll bet anything that Shagnasty will drop by any minute to talk about how utterly wonderful it is to be single…”

Heh. I’ve never seen anyone in my life so damned determined to convince the world that nobody should ever get married. Anyone who has to beat that dead horse this ferociously must be trying to convince himself.

I need alone-time some of the time and always will, but I had way too much perpetually-alone time in my teens and twenties. I need connections, someone to care about and to care about me. I’m fortunate to have that situation multiple times over at this point in my life.

I’ve been happily attached, and I’ve been happily unattached. They are two different kinds of happiness, but I think they are about the same magnitude.

I’m happily unattached. I don’t have a desire to be in a relationship, and I never get lonely. I think I’d be miserable if I tied myself to another person.

This is a bad dichotomy. If you prefer to be in a relationship but aren’t in one you’re unhappier. But if you prefer to not be in a relationship and aren’t in one you’re happier. A person’s preference will make a major determinant in happiness.

The response graph is about as I’d expect. A few people are ‘ecstatic’ (or at least would like to convince others or themselves they are) about getting rid of a bad relationship. But it’s basically comparing something you voluntarily choose to nothing, and predictably ‘nothing’ yields a more bell curve-like distribution of satisfaction than ‘something you choose voluntarily’, which is more skewed to the positive.

It would seem especially so in an age of more non-marriage long term relationships and low stigma on divorce, on average though both depend on cultural background. It’s not as likely one would stay in a relationship they view negatively, or especially to admit that’s what they’re doing.

This is The Correct Answer.

But I would say that there is greater potential for happiness in a relationship. Because, in a good relationship, you have two people trying to make you happy: yourself, and the other person.

(Even if you’re the sort of person who prefers to be alone, hypothetically wouldn’t a relationship in which your partner left you alone most of the time and didn’t ask much of you make you happier than no relationship at all?)

There’s also a greater potential for unhappiness in a relationship, too.

Generally, I would say that it is more miserable to be single and wanting a relationship. Although there is the saying also that “it is better to be single and wishing you were married, than to be married and wishing you were single.” (yes there is a difference between relationship and marriage, though)

I picked unattached and 2; I tend to vacillate between 1 and 3.