There are countless books, articles, and well-paid professionals selling ways to achieve marital bliss, but new study from Britain lays out the basics: If you want a great relationship, be young and don’t have kids. The study, a taxpayer-funded British survey released on Monday, is tracking 40,000 British households to learn about their lifestyles and experiences. When it comes to relationships, the researchers found that the happiest couples were young, married, didn’t have kids, and had been together for less than five years.
At first glance, this is just one of several recent studies that make parenthood and long-term relationships sound like misery, but the news isn’t all bad. While perfect wedded bliss might be reserved for the childless, not all parents are totally miserable. Parents of preschoolers reported being the least happy, but if you’re already headed down baby lane, don’t despair: Parents’ happiness levels bounced back as their youngest child grew older.
But good luck growing old together: Researchers said that older couples were less content than young ones, and women experienced greater decline in cheer than men. Just to bring all you young lovers down from cloud nine.