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The Question: Are Women Really Happier After A Divorce?

happy woman

A recent study by researchers at London’s Kingston University found that women are much happier and more satisfied with life after a divorce than men. Despite the problems of measuring emotional quality, the study attempted to use replicable data collection procedures to produce valid results.

Researchers surveyed 10,000 people in the United Kingdom. Participants were aged 16 to 60 and were asked to rate their own happiness levels before and after major life events. Men reported being slightly more happy after a divorce while women reported much higher levels of satisfaction. The study attempted to correct for the negative financial effects divorce often has on women; even with this correction, women still appeared to be far happier than men after a divorce.

There is no ultimate answer for why women may be more content after the end of a marriage. One possibility is that women often have a stronger support system in place than men. Another possibility is that women may have felt trapped in their marriage prior to divorce and may feel liberated after the divorce is over.

There are other, more subtle questions that this study does not answer. For example, there is no way to tell if women were “happier” after an initial period of sadness or depression over a divorce or if the feeling was relatively steady throughout the post-divorce experience. It is very possible that both men and women are not immediately happy, especially when first separated, but soon become happy as they adjust to a new lifestyle and begin to branch out and experience life beyond the end of a marriage.

Ultimately, whether men or women are happier after divorce is a subjective question. Objectively, men and women must both answer a different question: “Am I better off financially and legally after a divorce than before?” Unfortunately, for many men, the answer to this question is no, leading to a new speculation: women may be happier despite being “financially disadvantaged” because men may be even more so and suffer the effects of a divorce over a longer term.

A family law attorney may be able to help men who are facing a divorce minimize their own damage and reach a reasonable and workable agreement with their former spouses that will keep both partners happy after the divorce.

Source: Inquisitr, “Women Are Much Happier After Divorce Reveals European Study,” August 9, 2013.