How many times do we see girls being motivated to nurture their maternal instinct or work on themselves in order to please their husbands? But what if a woman does not exhibit maternal instincts at all What if she doesn’t want to spend even a fraction of her time and energy on pleasing her husband, but do something of her own? Will such a woman ever find happiness in her life? Ofcourse she will, says a research.

According to Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers.

SheThePeople.TV spoke to diverse women to know their views on the same.

No need for men to be happy

“The growing dependence of society on women to adhere to standards set by it is now past its expiry date. She is no longer a person who needs a man or a kid to be happy. She has her own goals, career or otherwise, to work towards, and they are more than enough to fill every void in her life. Funnily enough, the same research also says that marriage works better for men who become more “calmed” down post it. Well, we know the laws of energy and the price of a man’s calm is often a woman’s mental health”, says Richa Singh, Founder of Blog Chatter.

Marry for the right reasons

I don’t think you can say unmarried women are the happiest – each woman is an individual. They go into motherhood, childbirth or staying single with different motivations. And remain happy or unhappy in what they choose. – Naomi Dutta.

Marriage and child rearing does take a toll on a woman. She loses earning years – therefore her ability to earn and financial independence gets compromised. Apart, from that, running a family even if you are working becomes your sphere and responsibility and that can take a huge physical toll. Your interests as an individual can get curtailed because you are always working for the larger common good so to say. However, I don’t think you can say unmarried women are the happiest – each woman is an individual. They go into motherhood, childbirth or staying single with different motivations. And remain happy or unhappy in what they choose. Personally, I am all for marriage provided it is for the right reasons. Children – I love them if I don’t have to give birth to them, says media professional Naomi Datta.

Marriage an emotional hook in heart

“I married twice. First when I was 21 and the second time in my mid-thirties and I must say I enjoyed being married. And raising a child, even though it was hard to play house when I was an ambitious journalist. I enjoy the companionship marriage provides, the easy, no pressure rituals of a longstanding relationship and find so much joy in the young woman I have raised.  Marriage is more an emotional hook in the heart than anything else. Suddenly, you feel responsible for the man and the child even though neither of the two in my life expects anything from me. But I must confess there are times when I see pics of single women on fabulous holidays, lounging on the beach, relaxing in a spa or hanging out at a bar and I wistfully think, “what if.”, said author Sudha Menon.

I enjoy the companionship marriage provides, the easy, no pressure rituals of a longstanding relationship and find so much joy in the young woman I have raised. – Sudha Menon

Everyone’s journey is different

“I really think that the most important aspect of any relationship is to be fully content. If you find your significant other and can live a blissful life, marriage can be a great journey. On the other hand, if one hasn’t found what one is looking for, he/she should not settle for something less than what they deserve but rather focus on oneself and achieve their goals.”, says Sakshi Talwar of Rugs and Beyond.

Extremist view of happiness

Shonali Advani, Independent Consultant in Bengaluru feels that the author of the article takes a very extremist stance.”Looking at happiness in such a black and white manner is quite a myopic view of life. I personally see life as myriad shades of grey. Happiness and sorrow are all transient, a result of various phases and circumstances we encounter in our personal journey. As for living longer, none of us know the answer to our life span. There are countless instances of single folk who’ve passed away prematurely and the same number of married folk who lived till their 90’s!

Looking at happiness in such a black and white manner is quite a myopic view of life. I personally see life as myriad shades of grey. Happiness and sorrow are all transient, a result of various phases and circumstances we encounter in our personal journey. – Shonali Advani

“Secondly, this seems to indicate that single women have no stresses, burdens or responsibilities. Again, a huge myth propagated by society or the so-called married-but-unhappy folk.  In my case, I lost my father when I was 21 years old and single and at a very important juncture of my life – the start of my career. Did I rebuild my life, stay happy despite the odds and financial burdens? Absolutely! Was it easy on me or my mother – a single parent with two single kids to raise? Absolutely not!” But we stayed the course and continue to. A point in case – my single 20’s was not a cake walk!
She further explained that observing the world around her, she realized that a lot of women marry for the wrong reasons like societal/parental pressure, biological clock, boredom or inherent beliefs that marriage will give their life a 360 degree turn to ‘happiness’. “For me finding the right companion is more important than tick-marking marriage on my list of life goals!”, she asserted adding that happiness, as cliche, as it sounds comes from within. Life is a choice you make. If you’re unhappy with your circumstances, you’re only unhappy with yourself and your decisions.

Life is unpredictable

Joy Christin Johnson believes that life is not in our hands because it is unpredictable. “I know people who were healthy and now no more and vice versa and for that reason, I do not support this theory.”, she says. 

Wives with kids, however hard they try, can not avail this magical offer for a lifestyle. I blame a major percentage of this misfortune on the patriarchal balm that has been rubbed on the two things that are again considered to be the best thing to happen for a woman. – Afreen Dastangoi

SheThePeople.TV outreach editor Kaveri Purandhar also comments on similar lines, to put forth that living longer hasn’t got anything to do with marriage or motherhood. Says she, “Undoubtedly, marriage and motherhood add a lot of responsibilities. Handling kids is a major task. Women play multiple roles, and during the whole of this balancing act, she loses her mental as well as physical health. Comparatively, single women don’t have to manage their kids or extended family. But having said this we really can’t say that single women don’t have a lot of liabilities, as they might be facing much more than married or women having kids. All I want to say is ‘living longer’ cant be associated with marriage or having kids or being single.”
Self Care is the key
MA aspirant Afreen Dastangoi opines, “To talk basic science, we live longer and healthier when we eat the right food, live the right lifestyle, don’t stress too much and there’s an equal balance in our daily work and rest ratio. Wives with kids, however hard they try, can not avail this magical offer for a lifestyle. I blame a major percentage of this misfortune on the patriarchal balm that has been rubbed on the two things that are again considered to be the best thing to happen for a woman. If you try to focus on yourself a little more than your kids, you’re forced to feel bad about yourself. Now guilt and pressure aren’t exactly anti-aging elements.”
Sonia Dogra also makes a valid point saying, “Women are happier when they are not judged for the choice they make- marriage, no marriage, children, no children. Guess they just want to make their own choice!”
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