You don’t have to spend much time on any polyamory platform before you see someone lamenting over their singlehood or lack of an additional partner. If only they could find that special someone or someones to spend the rest of their life with, all their woes would be over. To their credit, romantic comedies and scientists themselves have reported that marriage is the key to happiness. However, there is plenty of counter evidence that sheds doubt on the idea that coupling into eternity is the answer to all your problems.
What the Internet Says About Marriage and Happiness
If you do a quick Google search asking if marriage equals happiness, you’ll immediately be bombarded by headlines like:
- Marriage makes you happier… But only if you make under $60,000
- Worldwide study shows marriage can make you happier than double your salary
- It’s not marriage that makes you happy, it’s happy marriage that makes you happy
If you’re not confused yet, there are also plenty of studies that report marriage is not the key to happiness.
- Getting married makes you happier? Again, no, Part 1
- Why we thought marriage made us happier and healthier, and why we were wrong
- The modern marriage trap and what to do about it
Does Marriage Make You Happy?
I could sit here and go through all of these studies one by one, but instead I will give you my take away based on the work of Dr. Bella DePaulo. In summary, much of the relationship research out there is missing a crucial detail. It doesn’t take into consideration that any relationship could have the same benefits of a romantic one. Marriage is not the key to happiness. Other relationships have the same potential to bring fulfillment to your life.
While I’m lucky enough to be deeply in love with my partner right now, that hasn’t always been the case. The end of my marriage proved the above study that states you won’t be happy if your marriage isn’t happy. At the end of breakups I fell apart and pined for romance instead of appreciating the relationships that I did have in my life, relationships with friends and family.
Embracing the Significance of All Relationships
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Romantic relationships, especially in the beginning, have the potential to cloud your judgment because of the all consuming nature of new relationship energy. Before you know it, you’ve bailed on your besty for the third time in a row or skipped out on a weekly phone call with a family member. Those individuals are just as important to your overall well-being.
Within the polyamory community, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by romantic partners and the pursuit of more. However, all of the relationships in our lives are of equal value and should be treated so. This brings us to what is actually the most difficult part of polyamory: time management. When you’re planning out your shared Google calendar, make sure you’re alotting time for everyone important to you.
Happiness is a luxury relatively new to the masses. Unfortunately, it’s been unrealistically commandeered by love, in particular, forever love, leaving those without it convinced they are missing out until they find a way in. It’s all a big ploy. You’re not automatically out of the happiness club just because you’re not married or in a serious relationship. So if you find yourself without a significant other, instead of spending another night swiping though the same people on Tinder, call up a friend and do something you both love to do. Science says it will provide just as much meaning to your life, especially if you have a nice vibrator or some high quality lube waiting for you at home.