According to Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance: “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at–or keynoted. Not how many blog posts you wrote or how many followers you had or how many tech companies you worked for or how much power you wielded there or how much you vested at each.
No, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfilment overall in life is, basically, love.
Is it though.
We have long known that women (in particular women under fifty-five) have worse outcomes than men following heart surgery. But it wasn’t until a Canadian study came out in 2016 that researchers were able to isolate women’s care burden as one of the factors behind this discrepancy. ‘We have noticed that women who have bypass surgery tend to go right back into their caregiver roles, while men were more likely to have someone to look after them,’ explained lead researcher Colleen Norris.
This observation may go some way to explaining why a Finnish study found that single women recovered better from heart attacks than married women – particularly when put alongside a University of Michigan study which found that husbands create an extra seven hours of housework a week for women. An Australian study similarly found that housework time is most equal by gender for single men and women; when women start to cohabit, ‘their housework time goes up while men’s goes down, regardless of their employment status’. (Invisible Women, pp.72-3)
Meanwhile, if you don’t believe me, for I have the heart and stomach of a bitter and twisted women, how about Prof Paul Dolan, who is not only a man, but is ALSO Head of the Department of Behavioural Science at the LSE?
In his latest book Happy Ever After
, Professor Dolan points to life satisfaction data which shows that married women are “no more satisfied with life than single women.”
Incidentally, Dolan has a new podcast out
, which I am sure will be worth listening to (haven’t got round to it yet because gestures at haunted house
but fully intend to asap. If any GFPs get to it before me, let me know what you think!)
Full disclosure, I took Paul’s behavioural econ course when I was at LSE; it was formative for me in developing my default male analysis so, you know, I guess I have a pro Dolan bias I should disclose 🤷♀️.
Anyway, in conclusion I’m not saying women SHOULDN’T fall in love and have a long-term relationship with a man gestures at last week’s newsletter 😃 (yes I am gesturing a lot this week deal with it dot gif), but I am also not saying they SHOULD.