Married life: sex once a month (if you’re lucky), arguments over how to stack the dishwasher and Friday nights spent trying to decide which Netflix original to watch… right?
According to the Office for National Statistics’ measure of national wellbeing in the UK in 2016, married people, or those in civil partnerships, are the most likely to be satisfied with their lives, while the divorced or separated are least satisfied.
34% of married people rated their life satisfaction as nine or 10 out of 10, compared with 28.9% of widowers or those co-habiting with a partner. Only 19.5% of those who were separated or divorced, however, were “very” satisfied with their lives – less than single people, 21.9% of whom reported being “very” satisfied.
The statistics also revealed that the number of people who have someone to rely on fell between 2011 and 2014, with 86.4% of people aged 16 or over having a partner, friend or family member to turn to in moments of need in 2011, compared with only 84.1% in 2014.
“There is a saying,” reports the ONS, “’A problem shared is a problem halved.’
“So having someone to turn to for company and support in times of need is essential for a person’s wellbeing.”
Of those that were married, only 2.8% reported having “low” life satisfaction, compared with 10% of divorcees.
The good (and perhaps surprising) news, is that “national wellbeing” was found to have improved across several measures: unemployment, crime, life expectancy and household income.
“In many parts of our society life in the UK is improving, but we don’t necessarily feel that they are,” the ONS director of wellbeing, Glenn Everett, says.
Satisfaction was, however, shown to have fallen in the areas of health, income and leisure time, though.
But perhaps it doesn’t matter. The figures come just as a Harvard University study revealed that the most important predictors of a good life are not economic or social standing, but the strength of our personal relationships.