Happiness levels increase after divorce – FACT!

This evening I stumbled across a piece of research conducted by Kingston University which found that happiness levels increase after divorce. 

Over the course of two decades, researchers regularly questioned 10,000 U.K. citizens between the ages of 16 and 60 about their happiness levels before and after major life milestones.    The research showed that women are significantly more content, and men slightly happier, after divorce.

happiness levels increase after divorce

Now, those of you who pay attention to the finer details of my blog, will know that I am not actually a divorcee.  I broke off the engagement four months before the big day.  I never walked down the aisle in a big white dress.  Being staunchly secular I would never have walked down the aisle anyway, and a big white dress is hardly my scene either (give me a little black dress any day) but you catch my drift. 

I called off the wedding, but I did however have a really posh afternoon tea just with my close family to celebrate my ‘narrow escape’.  On the weekend that I was due to be married I spent two days with my close family.  We stayed in a lovely London hotel and had champagne afternoon tea at sketch.  It was a great weekend and I am so glad that I came to my senses and called the whole thing off.

So, although I am not officially a divorcee it sure as hell felt like I went through a divorce.  A child together, a cat, a jointly owned house and mortgage and a six year relationship feel like a marriage to me.  We just never had the fancy photos and nice cake.   

The Kingston University research finding that happiness levels increase after divorce really struck me because it is so absolutely true. 

Following my…I don’t really know what to call it…my almost-a-divorce, I feel liberated.  I feel empowered.  I feel in control of my future.  I feel in control of my time (not that I do have much of my own time but that which I do have I sure as hell like to control). 

There is no atmosphere in the flat.  There is none of his mess for me to clean up.  I don’t have be dragged down by his tales of woe (“the washer on the kitchen tap needs replacing”, “my joints ache”, “my blood sugar is low”, “we can’t afford to live in this house”).  My ex was the archetypal glass half empty type.  How ever big or small the issue, he would feel the need to wallow in it … and I found it exhausting.

Now, I can hang my pictures where I want them. I can buy fresh flowers without his scorn.  I can stay up late or go to bed early.  I don’t have to watch documentaries about the first world war.   We don’t have to have a cupboard to house three sets of golf clubs all for an annual golfing weekend. 

More importantly though (because flowers, documentaries and golf clubs are hardly grounds for divorce), I don’t have to see his look of contempt and disappointment when I don’t cook a meal the way his mother cooked it, or when I am quieter than he thinks I should be at a party, or when I need my hair done and my roots are showing or I am still carrying my post pregnancy weight.  I don’t have to suffer his loving and charming façade in public and his disdain and disappointment in private. 

We are co-parenting, so I still have to see him a few times a week, and co-parenting with my ex is nothing if not a challenge, but I don’t have to live with him and we are not married, and for that I am thankful, and immensely proud of myself every single day. 

Do you want to know the best thing about the Kingston University study which found that happiness levels increase after divorce? Well, let me tell you.  The study found that women (not men…) are significantly more content than usual for up to five years following the end of their marriages, even more so than their average or baseline level of happiness throughout their lives. 

Happiness levels increase after divorce, I am having the time of my life, and (hehee, big grin) according to Kingston University I will continue to do so for about another three and a half years.

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45 Comments

  1. August 9, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    I’m loving this study! And also I am very much in agreement with most of what you’ve said here (I didn’t have to worry about golf clubs but there was plenty of other useless crap cluttering the place up) and I’m really looking forward to having a home of my own with the kids and starting from scratch with decorating and choosing the décor. I went out for my birthday yesterday in London with my sister and nieces and we had an absolute blast. My sister posted a picture of us on facebook and commented that it felt like they had ‘got me back’ which kind of sums it up really. Thanks for posting this it has made me smile! #thetruthabout
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #86My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      Hi Sam,

      That’s a lovely comment from your sister. I think my family feel the same. Pen x

  2. August 10, 2016 / 6:34 am

    Well I have never been divorced but I have broken an engagement before (though the wedding wasn’t exactly planned and we had no kids together ) and I understand the bravery it takes to take control and change the course of your life. I strongly believe it is better to be alone (for your sake and that of your kids) than to be with someone who doesn’t respect you or treat you well, or that you just don’t enjoy being with so I like this and if it helps more unhappy feel the strength to make the change then that is a good thing xx
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…Our Dorset Holiday 2016My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      Thank you Caroline. I agree – it is much better to be alone than in an unhappy relationship ‘for the sake of the children’ with someone who doesn’t respect you. Not everyone thinks like this though. My staunchly catholic ex mother in law thinks I am the devil’s child. Oh well, I’ll get over it. Pen x

  3. August 10, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Despite being happily married, I can understand that the feeling of being in control of your own destiny must be empowering and as long as you are happy nothing else matters, happy parents equal happy children x #TwinklyTuesday
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    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      Thank you Tria, I appreciate it. Pen x

  4. August 10, 2016 / 8:21 am

    My divorce took years and I was so physically poorly and had overcome a big battle with post natal depression that any happiness was over shadowed, however…..now, I feel this happiness and long may it continue. Despite the challenges of being a chronically ill single mother and that I need to find a career that I can physically manage, I’m happier than I was in for the most part, my entire marriage. It’s a long slog to get there but it’s worth it. Xx

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:44 pm

      Hi Hannah,

      good to see you here. You are right it is a long slog, and you have had a longer and more challenging slog than most. I am glad you think it is worth it too. Pen x

  5. August 12, 2016 / 8:02 am

    How interesting. And very important. So many parents worry about divorce and ‘splitting up the family’ but a happy parent is essential for any child. They can hardly grow up happy if the parent is miserable!

    • thesingleswan
      August 12, 2016 / 8:43 pm

      Hi Kate,

      I totally agree with you and I can honestly say that my son and his father have a much better relationship than they ever would have done had we stayed together. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  6. August 13, 2016 / 7:46 pm

    While I am a happily married woman I can understand how making a decision that is right for you would feel liberating and empowering. Im glad to hear you were able to figure it out before you made that kind of commitment. I imagine that would have been hard.

    • thesingleswan
      August 14, 2016 / 8:18 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      thanks for your comment. Pen x

  7. August 14, 2016 / 4:57 am

    I am not divorced either, I am actually really in love and happy with my husband, but I was in two long term relationships before him and oh my gosh I so get what you are saying here. I had one very abusive relationship, and after finally leaving him I felt such a sense of freedom and personal empowerment. I could speak with my friends and family whenever I wanted. I could wear what I wanted, buy what I wanted and just be me! I am still so happy after leaving that bastard! #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      August 14, 2016 / 8:17 pm

      Hi Mac,
      Lovely to see you back here. Thanks for your comment. It actually gives me hope that there might be decent people out there and that I might even be able to find one. I am just recent nervous about meeting another a******e. I didn’t spot the clues last time…

      Pen x

  8. August 14, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    I am married and happily so, but that doesn’t mean I cant see where you are coming from. You go girl, there’s a lot to be said for being in charge of your own destiny and it sounds like you’re nailing it!

    #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 14, 2016 / 8:15 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  9. August 14, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    Very well written indeed – it is emotional, honest, raw but also very uplifting. I am glad you are happy – you deserve to be. Life is too short to be dragged down by others. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 14, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      Thanks Stacey. Much appreciated. Pen x

  10. August 14, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Interesting post (as always), and I hope it’s true! I am currently going through a divorce, unfortunately not my choice, but I am looking forward to it being over and done with so I can draw a line and start getting on with my life.
    #kcacols
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    • thesingleswan
      August 14, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I really feel for you. Divorce (and indeed separation) is really horrendous. I never ever ever want to go through 2015 again. I don’t think I could do it. But now that 18months or so have passed since we broke up things are so much better. There is light at the end of the tunnel I promise. No happy marriage ended in divorce remember that. Even though it wasn’t your choice, if he wasn’t happy he wasn’t being the husband that he should have been to you and he wasn’t being the husband that you deserve. Stay strong. Pen x

  11. August 15, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    Good for you for what you managed to do, not everyone has the strength. I hope this can encourage some of those people that it can be done and there is life and happiness after a relationship. Well done:)
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.
    Mainy x
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    • thesingleswan
      August 17, 2016 / 8:42 pm

      Hi Mainy,

      thanks for your comment. Pen x

  12. August 17, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    Although I’m happily married I can see what you’re saying. It’s not good for anyone to stay in an unhappy relationship. #kcacols
    Claire recently posted…Pug vs BabyMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 18, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      Hi Claire,

      I totally agree, obviously! And thanks for your comment. Pen x

  13. August 19, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    Yes, my mum is happier since my parents’ divorce (so is my dad, but he is remarried so that is a bit different – I’m kind of assuming this is really talking about people being single but happier post divorce.

    I currently have a similar situation to yours – we weren’t married, but have kids, house, etc & relationship broken down. Very stressful trying to sort everything out, but I can see being happier without him. I left because of abuse though, so I am also still afraid & I am really worried about the arrangements for the kids & the damage that may be inflicted on them by having an abusive father. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 21, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. I do hope that you are okay. Your’s sounds like a very tough situation and I can understand that you are worried about the arrangements for kids and the impact that having an abusive father could have on them. I am confident that things will be better for you in the longer term. Things do get easier. Good luck. Pen x

  14. September 17, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    I admire you. It’s brave to uproot everything you know and I’m so glad you’be found happiness from it #KCACOLS

  15. September 17, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    SO refreshing! I’m not in this position but I can quite imagine being so and it being wonderfully freeing. Love this post.

  16. September 18, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    It really makes me smile to know that you are happy.
    To know that you had the courage and the strength to not sit still in fear, but to take charge of your own life. I hope you continue to stay happy, and do things for yourself like stay up late and buy fresh flowers <3

    Considering many people marry for the wrong reasons, or marry too young or too soon, I can definitely see how happiness levels are increased. I mean, look at the divorce rates, people are not happy with their spouse. I can say that my parents would have been a whole lot happier had they divorced.
    Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…Homemade All-Natural ToothpasteMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2016 / 7:37 pm

      Hi Savannah,

      thanks for your comment. It is sad to hear you say that your parents would have been a whole lot happier if they divorced. I am proud that my son will never say that. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      Haha. You might be able to get hubby to take the rubbish out by showing him this blog post. Good luck. Pen x

  17. September 18, 2016 / 5:52 pm

    If you were unhappy in your marriage to get a divorce then it makes sense you would be happier after it . I can see that women would be happier as in my experience they are usually the ones to make the most sacrifices . I’m glad you’re happy – love the sound of your narrow escape afternoon tea ! #kcacols
    Themotherhub recently posted…What a way to make a living.My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2016 / 7:33 pm

      Hi,

      thanks for your comment. Pen x

  18. September 18, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    Love this. Obviously I’ve never been divorced (or married) but I do think single life is underrated. There’s this assumption that if you’re single you must not want to be, but I’d rather be single than have golf clubs in my house and be moaned at about the state of my hair, any day. #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      September 19, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      hahaa, yes, I am more than capable at moaning at myself for the state of my hair and of cluttering my house with my books, and magazines and old newspapers, and letters, and generally stuff that I just haven’t got around to putting away. there is just no room for stray golf clubs too. Pen x

  19. September 20, 2016 / 12:40 am

    Although I’m sad about the fact that your life changed in what seems to be a not so nice way – I would expect that even though one is happy now and from what you are describing I whole heartedly agree with you – at one point in your life I suspect you loved him. And therefore it must have been very hard for you to come to terms with going off on your own and finding your self? I am so happy for you and I’m so happy to read that you are doing so well now – you deserve to be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy, and if we’re not happy with a person or in a marriage then yes I also think it’s time to move on.

    #KCACOLS
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    • thesingleswan
      September 20, 2016 / 9:27 pm

      Hi,

      thanks for your lovely comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      September 20, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      Pleasure. thanks for reading. Pen x

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