Does unhappiness decrease marriage chances?

Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Postbns 1738, 3000 DR, Rotterdam
Published in Dutch in: Gedrag en Gezondheid, 1987, vol 15, pp 107-117

Various surveys in modern western nations have shown that people who live alone are less satisfied with their lives than persons who live with a partner. The widowed and the divorced in particular are relative/v unhappy. The common explanation is that being single leads to unhappiness. Yet it could also he that unhappiness leads to the single state. This paper explores that alternative explanation. Three longitudinal studies do indeed suggest that unhappiness decreases marriage chances. They, cannot, however, provide definite proof. Various possible effects are considered. Unhappiness as such could lower chances in that it is considered an undesirable trait, hinders social contacts and casts a shadow over the relationship with a partner. Unhappiness could also limit marriage changes by impeding personality development towards ‘activity" inner contact" "self-acceptance" and "empathy": characteristics which are quite crucial in the modern western marriage pattern.

Full text in Dutch