How Getting Married Really Affects Lifelong Happiness

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We sink a lot of money into pursuing relationships. From paying for the many dating apps out there to splitting tabs, moving in together, and throwing some of the biggest family gatherings of our lives, falling in love is expensive. For all that time and effort, is it worth it, in the end? The answer might make single people very happy.

Psychologists at Michigan State University have just released a study looking at the long-term effects of marriage on happiness. They looked at more than 7,500 people between the ages of 18 and 60, nearly 80 percent of whom stayed married to one person their whole lives. Society, culture, and the entire wedding industrial complex are invested in the findings; it turns out that, according to coauthor Mariah Purol, "lifelong singles and those who had varied relationship histories didn't differ in how happy they were. This suggests that those who have 'loved and lost' are just as happy towards the end of life [as] those who 'never loved at all.'"

In fact, another cliché might be the real foundation of lifelong happiness: When you love yourself first, it's easier to love other people. "People can certainly be in unhappy relationships," said coauthor William Chopik, "and single people derive enjoyment from all sorts of other parts of their lives, like their friendships, hobbies, and work." So if you're staking it all on whether you meet that special someone, it's never a bad moment to relax and take some time for yourself. Whether you meet your person or not, it's always best to choose happiness wherever you can make it.