Why Are Childfree Couples Happier?
I’ve read several studies now that all conclude that childfree couples (interpreted: never have had children) tend to be happier than couples in any other child status, including so-called “empty nesters” (those whose kids are all grown and gone). I’ve often wondered to myself why that is. What is it about the childfree way of life is making these couples happier?
In thinking about it, I’ve come up with a number of reasons that might explain this phenomenon, some of which are probably obvious, others of which are not so obvious. We’ll deal with each one of my thoughts individually, but please keep in mind much of this is just speculation on my part, and I’m in no way going to claim any of this as absolute fact.
First things first, a recurring theme and mention that has come up on my blog throughout the post: finances. There’s no way to deny that children are expensive. Even one child is enough to put financial stress on a couple who’s already struggling to make ends meet. Each additional child further stretches the budget. What’s ironic about that, though is that I’ve read a number of studies that have determined that people who identify as childfree as a whole tend to have higher gross incomes than those who either want or have children. Financial stress can and does put a strain on a couple’s relationship (and the converse is also true), so this absolutely makes sense.
Then there’s the issue of freedom. Couples without children are obviously more free to do stuff on their own accord or with each other than if they had children. Freedom to travel the world, engage in interest and hobbies, go out at night, among other things. They are more able to totally immerse themselves in their interest and hobbies. This is good for mental health and happiness as well.
It’s been conjectured that childfree couples also tend to have better sex lives. While at first I had trouble understanding the reasoning behind this initially, I slowly started climb on board with this theory. Having children around can really mess up spontaneity. When you’re in the mood, you’re in the mood. If the kids aren’t in bed yet, well, it’s hard to just get it on without them the wiser, unless you just leave them by themselves, which is a mess. Also, kids can interrupt sexy time (especially babies if they wake in the night), which is frustrating. That can lead to all sorts of problems. Well, I think I rest my case here.
I think there are some other minor factors that might come into play. More time for one another, more education (childfree couples tend to be better educated, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a correlation between education and happiness), more time to advance one’s career, among other things. I think we could conjecture all day as to the reasons as to why childfree couples may be happier, but I think extensive research would have to be done. I’d be interested to see how such studies would come out.
What do you guys think?