Divorce can be a painful experience for some people. It signals the end of a significant chapter in your life. While for some, it brings uncertainty about whether or not they’ll find happiness again, and for others, it brings a freedom and happiness.
A study conducted by researchers at London’s Kingston University have concluded that women become happier and more satisfied with their lives after their divorces come through. The study was published in the journal Economica, and shows that women are significantly content, more than usual really, for up to a period of up to five years post the end of their marriages. And this is more than their own average or baseline happiness level throughout their lives.
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For the study, researchers studied 10,000 people in the UK, ranging in the age group of 16 and 60. They were questioned regularly over the two decades, for which the study was conducted. The participants were asked to rate their own happiness both before and after major milestones in their lives.
Interestingly, men too felt slightly happier than previously, after receiving their decree absolute of their divorce. But, the increase thereafter was less marked.
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Speaking about the study and women’s happiness, professor Yannis Georgillis, Director of the Centre for Research in Employment, Skills and Society (CRESS) at Kingston Business School, said,
“In the study, we took into account the fact that divorce can sometimes have a negative financial impact on women, but despite that, it still makes them much happier than men. One possible explanation could be that women who enter into an unhappy marriage feel more liberated after divorce than their male counterparts.”
Apart from this, the study focused on examining a psychological process called ‘adaptation,’ which is the way we adjust to new circumstances. Apparently, people can very quickly bounce back from traumatic events, otherwise perceived as hard to do, such as being widowed. And unemployment was regarded as the one major life event that had a much more permanent negative impact on well-being, regardless of gender. In particular, men were hit badly by losing their jobs, with the serious impact on their happiness that stretched up to five years.
Speaking about this, professor Georgellis explained,
“Men are deeply affected by unemployment, especially if they are used to being the breadwinners in their homes. With both sexes, the old adage ‘time heals’ just doesn’t seem to apply to losing your job. In fact, the negative effect of being made unemployed also persists even if the person finds a new job because being made unemployed has a ‘scarring’ effect.”
So in essence, divorce boosts women’s happiness, and unemployment diminishes men’s happiness, leaving them scarred.
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