By most measures, researchers say, single people may be better off than people in all but the happiest of romantic relationships. A new study that measured romantic relationships and singlehood found the old saw that "being single is better than being in a bad relationship" held. But by six of the seven measures, the only people in committed romantic relationships who were doing better than single people were the ones who rated their relationships at the top of the scale, Psychology Today Australia reports. The study was conducted by researchers at Michigan State and Southern Methodist universities and published in SAGE Journals.
The 326 participants, who mostly were white and whose average age was 53, rated their positive and negative feelings and satisfaction in the seven categories. Those in relationships said they were more satisfied with their lives, but they did not feel better emotionally or consider their lives any more meaningful than single people did. The authors saw many signs that the quality of the romantic relationship is important, but they found that even people who rated their relationship highly had more negative feelings—such as frustration and worry—when they were with their partners than when they weren't. Singlehood in the US is at a record high, per the Washington Post, with 35 percent of all ages saying they aren't in a committed relationship. A study earlier this year found that that's the case for 51 percent of Americans 18 to 34. (Read more relationships stories.)