How to be happy: Don't marry or have kids

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"When will you get married?" is one of the questions often asked at family gatherings. If you are a woman and you want to be happy, consider "never" as the answer.

According to professor of behavioural science Paul Dolan, women who are unmarried and stay childless are the happiest compared to others. This bucks the outdated notion that women need to find a husband and bear children to be happy.

"Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they're asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: f***ing miserable," said Dolan, who is also the author of Happy Ever After, published early this year, as quoted by The Guardian.

Speaking at the Guardian's Hay Festival, he said that men benefited more than women when it came to marriage. Married men live longer than their unmarried counterparts, while for women, it's the opposite. Middle-aged married women, in particular, have a higher risk of physical and mental conditions than their single counterparts.

Furthermore, Dolan scorned the stigma against single, childless women that often forced them into marriage.

"You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children - 'Bless, that's a shame, isn't it? Maybe one day you'll meet the right guy and that'll change.' No, maybe she'll meet the wrong guy and that'll change. Maybe she'll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner."

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