For the longest time, many women have held the belief that marriage might be the key to a happier and more fulfilling life. 

However, as we continued to evolve, some of us turned our backs on that belief and chose to find other ways of achieving that much sought-after happiness, choosing to rather focus on self-love and drinking tall glasses of wine.

READ MORE: Even though I regret getting married before I celebrated my 24th birthday, I learned these 5 important lessons

And as it turns out, we may have been on to something. That is, according to the findings of a study conducted by behavioural science professor at the London school of Economics, Paul Dolan.

According to Guardian, in his latest book Happy Ever After, Paul used data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which compared the happiness levels of a group of unmarried, married, divorced, widowed, and separated adults to find his outcome - women who choose not to get married and not to have kids will not only be happier, but healthier too.

Who knew.

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Paul explained to The Guardian that married couples had initially been "happier" when asked about their happiness levels, while their partners were in the same room as them. However, as soon as their partners were away from view, the truth came out. 

Most of them had confessed to being "miserably" married. People who were unmarried were considerably happier.

“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** miserable,” he said while speaking at the Hay Festival.

Paul also went on to explain that marriage, unlike for women, is good for men. The reason for this according to him, is that when married, men "take less risk, earn more money and live a little longer".

READ MORE: More women are choosing to trot around the globe over having children and getting married

"If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” he says. 

One might attribute that to the patriarchy that has, for many decades, put some men under the impression that their wives should be treated as less than, but that's a conversation for another day.

Shelley Lewin, Cape Town-based relationship expert and life coach, thinks the reason why women who remain unmarried are happier is because they can form the same kind of bonds with friends they would have with a husband, while men on the other hand, only show their emotional sides to their partners

"All human beings need to connect and bond. It is in our DNA and we are social beings regardless of gender," she says.

"Generally speaking, women are nurturers and can create a ‘tribe’ or ‘sisterhood’ with other women, which fulfills their need to connect and bond without the need to marry and have kids.

"Men generally tend to be emotionally vulnerable only with their partners which is why the results might be reflecting these stats," she adds. 

Women who remained unmarried after the age of thirty (and even younger) were previously often frowned upon by society, but at least now you can take comfort in the fact that marriage need not be the be-all and end-all of life.

Hopefully this will also take off some of that pressure that mom's been putting on you.

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