There are advantages and disadvantages to staying unmarried

Quick notes:

  • Getting married and having children will change your life forever, but it’s unclear if it’s for better or worse

  • New studies show that unmarried men aren’t the video game-playing, beer-swilling individuals commonly portrayed in the media

Imagine this: You’re out at the bar and there’s a middle-aged man sitting at the end, hitting on all the young ladies that come his way. He drove up in a flashy sports car and he’s been drinking scotch on the rocks for hours. He seems completely unaware of his creepiness or the fact that no one actually wants to talk to him.

This is the way media portrays older, unmarried men. There is a popular myth that lifelong bachelors are sad, lonely, and frankly, a bit gross. Society constantly pressures them to “just settle down already” so they don’t turn into that guy. But perhaps the myth is wrong: Recent research shows that there may actually be upsides to staying single for life. And, as it turns out, bachelors aren’t actually creepy, after all.

Bachelors are more likely to have a healthy social life

Research shows that single men are far more successful than married men at maintaining healthy friendships with other adults. In fact, many married men report not having any friends at all. Why is that? Because single men put more effort into their relationships: Rather than just texting or calling, they are far more likely to actually plan recreational outings and get-togethers.

[Varun Kulkarni]\[tortugadatacorp] via pixabay
Ultimately these interactions can help lead to a longer life. Better friendships have been linked to a healthier life as an elderly person, in part because social interactions can help stave off the memory loss that often comes with old age.

In addition, cultivating and maintaining platonic relationships fulfills a key emotional need for humans, and better emotional health leads to better physical health.

And more sensitive to feelings of judgment and grief

Men — especially single ones — are often perceived as being insensitive and lacking in empathy. This is particularly true when it comes to “female” issues, such as reproductive health problems and infertility. But new studies reveal that men feel the ticking of the biological clock just as acutely as women and they also grieve when they are unable to have children of their own.

There is a popular myth that lifelong bachelors are sad, lonely, and frankly, a bit gross.

According to research, when men cannot have biological children due to fertility problems, they go through a period of bereavement and feel a sense of regret. Further, when they don’t have children because they can’t (or don’t want to) find a partner, they are more likely to feel judged by others. Married men are much less likely to feel alienated in this way.

But they’re also more likely to become criminals

There’s been a meme floating around for ages that says something like, “A friend will help you hide. A real friend will help you hide the body.”

Well, it’s a good thing bachelors have all of those friends, because it seems they’re more likely than average to actually need help covering up a crime! Studies have revealed that married men are far less likely than bachelors to commit a crime. The numbers also show that having children lowers the likelihood of criminal activity even further.

[Vitabello]\[Vitabello] via pixabay
All over the world, there are statistically more single men in prison than married men. And, in societies where men are unable to marry or have children for some reason, there are higher rates of crime and extremism across the board, as well as more time spent at war.

And less likely to have expendable income

Studies show that bachelors make 10 to 40 percent less than their married counterparts. This does not mean that bachelors are destitute or that married men are wealthy, however. It likely comes down to the fact that married men have more expenses than single men overall, especially when there are children involved.

There is evidence that men with wives and children work longer hours and have less work-life balance than their single counterparts. In addition, research also indicates that men are simply more likely to wait until their income is already rising to start a family in the first place.

Either way, if you’re a married man, your single friends likely make significantly less money than you do!

A deeper dive – Related reading on the 101:

Millennial Couples Aren’t Rushing Into Marriage – Here’s Why That’s A Good Thing | Living101

Couples are choosing to get married at an older age and spend more time with their potential partners before tying the knot.

A Bad Marriage Is Devastating To Health, New Study Says | Living101

Researchers at the universities of Michigan and Nevada have found that marital conflicts can be bad for your health.