Nothing new – The nation’s fascination with high-profile men who stray, like Tiger Woods, is nothing new. In light of the male propensity to have extramarital affairs, is it even worth getting married?
Psychologist Andrew Irwin-Smiler says, “As a culture, we have a perception that men just want sex and that all men are promiscuous, but the research shows that while men do have more partners than women, most men only have one partner at a time.” His research shows that the majority of boys and men prioritize and value emotional connection to their partner.
So is marriage worth it? It’s not a question for the many lonely people out there, especially those who are getting older and have never hooked up with anyone. If that’s you, don’t give up: A new study reports that adults over 40 who have never married are just as healthy psychologically as adults who marry.
Psychologist Jamila Bookwala examined responses from more than 1,500 Americans age 40 to 74 who identified themselves as either “married” or “never married.” The results of their study reveal that although never-married adults report somewhat lower levels of overall emotional well-being as those adults in the same age group who chose to go the marriage route, they are comparable to their married counterparts on the possession of psychological resources that are handy in coping with life’s challenges.
Bookwala says, “When it comes to psychological resources, these individuals do not seem to be at any disadvantage whether they remained single or got married. This may also serve as one more factor to dispel the old myth that states that there may be ‘something wrong’ with people over 40 who never married.
“Among married adults, those who reported being less self-sufficient, and thus likely possessing a higher level of interdependence, were happier than their counterparts who were less self-sufficient adults. However, in the group that remained single, higher emotional wellbeing was characteristic of those who had greater self-sufficiency.” In other words, if you have no one to lean on, you learn to fend for yourself.
An especially intriguing finding was that while higher self-sufficiency is a positive for never-marrieds, it can be detrimental for married individuals. Bookwala says, “It is possible that self-sufficiency may undermine the interdependence between spouses. The findings suggest that while being self-sufficient when one is single predicts higher emotional well-being, being self-sufficient within marriage may work against such wellbeing,” she says. “A possible explanation for this difference is that, in marriage, interdependence, rather than self-sufficiency, may foster higher emotional wellbeing.”
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