Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Childless couples 'are happier'

Published 13/01/2014

While couples without children have happier marriages, mothers are happier than any other group, a study found
While couples without children have happier marriages, mothers are happier than any other group, a study found

Couples without children have happier marriages, according to one of the biggest studies ever of relationships in Britain.

Childless men and women are more satisfied with their relationships and more likely to feel valued by their partner, the research project by the Open University found.

But researchers also discovered that women without children were the least happy with life overall, whereas mothers were happier than any other group even if their relationships faltered.

The study, involving interviews and surveys with more than 5,000 people of all ages, statuses and sexual orientations over a two-year period, will be presented at the British Library this week.

Saying "thank you" and giving compliments emerged as one of the most important factor in keeping a relationship healthy across all groups.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the survey also found that people who had been in a long-term relationship before were more likely to know how to sustain their next relationship.

Dr Jacqui Gabb, a senior lecturer in social policy at the Open University who led the survey, told the Daily Telegraph: "This is a shift away from the idea that they are just failed relationships to be put in a cupboard and forgotten about.

"It shows they have learnt something through them, therefore it can be an enriching experience."

There were substantial differences between men and women, with mothers twice as likely to say that their children are the most important person in their life while fathers tended to point to their partners.

Fathers were twice as likely as mothers to cite a lack of sexual intimacy as the thing they disliked most about their relationship.

Age was another crucial factor, with younger and older men having more satisfactory relationships than middle-aged males, and women up to 34-years-old happier with their couple than their older counterparts.

Heterosexual parents reported doing less to "mai ntain" their relationship than any other group and were the least likely to say "I love you", talk about everything or pursue shared interests.

Meanwhile, non-heterosexual participants were more positive about the quality of their relationship and efforts to maintain it.

T he study also found that unmarried parents are slightly happier than married parents.

From the web

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph