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Marriage happier than cohabitation

Married couples and civil partners are more likely to be happy than those who live together.

In newly published data the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that nearly 35 per cent of people who are either married or in a civil partnership rate their overall happiness very highly. On a scale of one to ten, these people claimed their life satisfaction was nine or ten.

Cohabitation did not fare so well in these figures. Only 28.9 per cent of people who lived with a partner rated their happiness at the same level.

That number dropped even further among single people, with 21.9 per cent who claimed to have a very high level of satisfaction with their life. Additionally, only 19.5 per cent of those who had divorced or separated did the same.

The ONS also found that Britons are doing better financially than they have in recent years. The number of people who claimed to be struggling fell from 11.6 per cent in 2011 to just over nine per cent in 2014.

ONS Director of Wellbeing Glenn Everett said that in different areas of society “life in the UK is improving, but we don’t necessarily feel that they are”. Health appears to be one aspect that people believed was getting worse. Overall satisfaction with health was 57.8 per cent in 2014, down from 66.3 per cent in 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of people who claimed to have suffered from anxiety and depression rose from 18.3 per cent to 19.7 per cent. However, mental health charity Mind’s head of information Stephen Buckley suggested this could be because more people “are starting to feel comfortable talking about mental health”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. JamesB says:

    A better statistic would be percentage of divorced people who wished they had never met their ex compared to percentage of separated co-habitees who wished they had never met their ex. I would expect the former to be a lot higher as divorces as usually acrimonious and very unpleasant with massive negative repurcussions all round especially for the children and children’s children.

    Here’s a statistic for you. Co-habitees a million times less likely to experience divorce than married couples.

  2. JamesB says:

    Will I be encouraging my children to get married? No, not under this (MCA) law. I would gift them a pre nup as a wedding present and would encourage them to get married. I think I am in the minority though. I remember speaking with a fellow father in the swing park once, he said, unprompted by me, he would not be encouraging his children to marry with the law as it is.

  3. JamesB says:

    The only way to avoid divorce is not to get married, that is probably why so many and an increasing number don’t get married. I think that’s an issue and should be resolved by making pre nups legal and the law for divorce and ancillary relief the same as Scotland in England and Wales and then more would marry.

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