The Atlantic Just Claimed Married People Are Happier — Am I the Only One Who Finds That Hard to Believe?

The happy single women of the world aren’t buying this fairy tale

Y.L. Wolfe
8 min readSep 6

Photo by Emma Bauso in Pexels

I just lost all respect for The Atlantic. But I’m sure you won’t blame me. How could I have any other reaction after reading staff writer Olga Kahzan’s latest piece that cites about a dozen studies in order to back up its claim that the happy people of the world are the ones with rings on their fingers.

If you’re a happy single woman like me, you likely just had to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Are we really doing this again? It’s 2023 and we’re (yet again) being subjected to one of the most well-known institutions in journalism trying to convince us that marriage is the ultimate pinnacle of joy? And seriously, we have to go through yet another round of single shaming?

Yes, apparently that’s exactly what we’re in for. And on behalf of the happy single women of the world, I can’t help but speak out.

Look at that feature image. Doesn’t it just make you want to put on your coziest cabled sweater, pack up a picnic, and snuggle up with your boyfriend in the late summer sun? Isn’t this the heteronormative dream?

And apparently, if you aren’t living it, it’s because you’re an unhappy person. If you are…if you’re wearing a wedding band right now, it’s because you’re a happy person. And happy people end up married.

Or so sayeth the aforementioned Atlantic staff writer, and soon-to-be-wife Olga Khazan, as well as about a dozen researchers she cited.

It appears that the foundation of Khazan’s argument is built upon a recent study — the only study referenced in this piece that isn’t at least two decades old, I might add — by the University of Chicago’s Sam Peltzman, a professor emeritus of economics. The question on the table is: Why have Americans’ experience of happiness plunged since 2000? The alleged reason: Because fewer of us are choosing to marry.

Wait, are people happy because they’re married? Or is marriage just an inevitable destination for happy people? This isn’t the first time you’ll find yourself asking those questions, since the article…

Y.L. Wolfe

Gender-curious, solosexual, perimenopausal, childless crone-in-training. | Newsletter: | Email: