Life

This is the one incredible benefit of staying single, according to science

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Kayleigh Dray
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It seems as if staying single may be the best route to a happy-ever-after…

If you overdosed on Disney films in your youth (guilty) you’ll know that a fairy-tale princess’ story always ends with wedding bells. But, as it turns out, marriage isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all when it comes to happy-ever-afters.

In fact, the Pew Research Centre and Happify have teamed up to bust the myth of the “lonely singleton” – and, in the process, they’ve proven that Bey’s Single Ladies forge far stronger bonds with parents, siblings, neighbours, and friends than their married counterparts do.

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Indeed, in staying more connected with others, singletons are more likely to get help and help those around them – something which can help to boost your mental health.

Speaking to CBC, Dr Carolyn Schwarz of University of Massachusetts Medical School explained that depression rates were significantly lower in those who helped others regularly.

Helpers are happier, being single affords you some time to lend the occasional hand, and unmarried women, in particular, tend to donate their time and efforts to the sisterhood.

Singletons are more likely to stay in touch with friends

Singletons are more likely to stay in touch with friends

That’s right; as well as enjoying a wider friendship group (which has been scientifically proven to extend your life and boost your overall health), single ladies “tend to be more concerned about women’s welfare as a group.”

Researchers explained: “As an added bonus, this may help you to feel that you’re even more part of your community.”

So, in a bid to  “take advantage of your status by donating time to a cause you believe in, or simply by offering to do a chore for a less-able neighbour.”

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If you need an extra reason to embrace your altruistic side, it’s worth remembering that a 2016 study has confirmed that people who go out of their way to help others tend to reap the rewards in the bedroom, with more sexual partners, and better, more frequent sex, than those who are selfish.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology, stated: “The present study provides the first empirical evidence that altruism may tangibly benefit mating in humans living in Western industrialised society.

“Previous studies have investigated whether altruists are more attractive than non-altruists, all else being equal.”

Singletons are more likely to be altruistic - and altruism is packed full of sexy benefits

Singletons are more likely to be altruistic - and altruism is packed full of sexy benefits

The researchers added that their findings add to past research on hunter-gatherers, which showed that men who hunt and who share more meat among non-relatives also tend to have more sex. 

They concluded: “The present study is the first to show that this may translate into mating success, in that altruists had more mates than non-altruists. This supports the idea that altruism might be a signal of desirable qualities and could have evolved in part via sexual selection.”

So, in short, singletons are more likely to look out for their fellow (wo)man – which, in turn, makes them appear sexier to potential sexual partners.

No wonder their emotional wellbeing is at an all-time high…

Images: Rex Pictures / iStock

This article was originally published in February 2016.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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