Women Are Less Satisfied In Relationships Than Men, New Survey Finds, Plus 8 Factors That Determine Happiness
Being in a brand-new relationship can be wonderful, and if you're in the "honeymoon phase," you might think (or hope) that nothing could go wrong, no matter how many years you and your bae spend together. But in the back of your mind, has there ever been a small, worried voice that wonders exactly what factors are most likely to affect your long-term relationship? Thanks to a new survey about what determines relationship satisfaction, we now have a pretty good idea of what makes people the happiest — or unhappiest — when it comes to their partners, and how these factors differ between genders.
The 10-year survey was conducted in Australia, and its respondents featured over 4,000 couples, about three-fourths of whom were married; the other fourth were in "de facto" relationships, meaning they lived together but were not legally married. Participants were asked to rank their satisfaction in relationships and factors leading to separation, and unfortunately, they found that women were overwhelmingly unsatisfied in their relationships, especially as the years went by. The good news? The survey provides a ton of insight about why respondents — particularly women — were so unhappy.
Below is a breakdown of how eight different factors affect the happiness (or unhappiness) men and women feel in relationships — let these be a beacon of wisdom unto your own relationships.
1. Length of Relationship
When it comes to long-term relationships, the survey found that women who had been married between 10-19 years were unhappiest, while the unhappiest men were those who'd been in de facto relationships for more than 20 years. Unsurprisingly, both men and women were happier in younger relationships, with one major difference: While men were happiest during the first few years of marriage, women were happiest if they were in a de facto relationship for less than three years. Researchers noted that couples in a de facto relationship were just as happy as married couples for the first few years, but the longer they stayed together without getting married, the more likely they were to become unhappy. So if you've been neglecting that proposal, maybe it's time to put a ring on it after all.
2. Partner's Age
Surprisingly, this factor was consistent for both genders. Women and men were happier with partners who were five years younger than them, while the unhappiest men and women had partners who were five or more years their senior. This might have something to do with power dynamics though — if you're older than your partner, you might be more dominant, which could lead to you getting your way more often.
If you've ever suspected that kids can ruin relationships, you might (unfortunately) be right. Both men and women were happiest when they had no dependent children (meaning none at all, or ones that have already left the nest). On the flip side, both the unhappiest men and women did have dependent children. Of course, that doesn't mean that kids ruin everything, but children definitely influence your relationship with your partner, whether you like it or not.
This might be the most shocking finding of all: Men and women were unhappiest when their partner had completed higher education of some form. Women whose husbands had tertiary education were unhappiest, and men whose partners had "post-school" education were equally miserable. So what made people happiest? You guessed it — partners that had high school education (or less!). I would never be pretentious enough to label myself a sapiosexual, but it's crazy to think that some people out there prefer less-educated partners.
When it comes to work, the survey found that the happiest men had wives who were not in the labor force, while women were happiest when they themselves didn't work. Women who work, either full-time or part-time, reported being less satisfied with their relationship than women who don't work. Somewhat surprisingly, however, is that women who do work found working 50 hours or more a week improved their relationship slightly.
This probably comes off as a big ole duh, but both men and women were happier when their partners were in good mental and physical health, while those who were unhappiest said that their partner suffered from poor mental or physical health. If you needed any more excuses to hit the gym, now you have one: Being in bad shape might put your love life in jeopardy (albeit not for years down the road).
According to the researchers, both men and women, but particularly men, don't like if their partner is too adventurous, "perhaps fearing they may cheat." Those surveyed were happiest if both they and their partner were agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable — because ~obvi~ everyone wants to be with someone who is thoughtful and not prone to arguments.
This might seem oddly nit-picky, but apparently smoking can have a huge impact on your relationship. The unhappiest men and women were those whose partner smokes, while they do not. Women were happiest when neither of them were smokers, but men only seemed to care that their wife didn't smoke (whether they did or not was not stated). If you know the struggle of constantly badgering your partner to quit smoking, then you definitely understand why these people were so damn unhappy.
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