Research: 60% Of Marriages Are Unhappy

If you are considering marriage, here is some research of which you should be aware.

A cross-validated study of 6,267 couples was done in the early 90s. Fully 60% of the marriages were classified by as either devitalized or conflicted.

Of the remainder:

  • 15% of marriages were traditional
  • Only 12% of marriages were harmonious
  • Only 13% of marriages were vitalized

If you do the math it’s a 60/40 split unhappy/happy.

Couple that with the crippling financial effects of a divorce and it’s no wonder men want to stay single.

If you love charts & graphs, read on.


The following chart shows the dimensions of happiness across couple types for things like Sexual Relationships, Financial Management, Religion, & all the rest:

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 7.32.55 AM

The vitalized relationship is the one everybody wants.

But the majority of marriages will end up in the lower two tiers.

The chart above shows once again that if you want the best things in life, you have to work for it.

But let’s say you’d be content with a marriage that was either traditional, harmonious, or vitalized. What can you look forward to?

Harmonious Couples. These couples had moderately high scores on the scales
assessing marital interaction, second only to vitalized couples. This group had a
drastically lower level of consensus on issues involving parenting. The couples in this
group tended to be older, married for a shorter period of time, and have the fewest
children of any group. They tended to be more educated and have higher status jobs.
The men have lower incomes more frequently than expected and women earned more
money with greater than expected frequencies. The wives in this group worked full-time
more than in other groups and were less often unemployed. The indicators of external
validity show that neither partner in three fourths of the couples in this group had
considered divorce and 94% considered themselves satisfied overall. In addition, less
than 1% were separated.

If you wait to get married older when you have more money, and less desire for children, this is the most likely outcome for you.

You may disagree strongly about children, but at least you’ll both be gainfully employed, earning high, and happy otherwise.

Contrast this with the traditionals:

Traditional Couples. The profile for traditional couples is characterized by
scores slightly above average on scales assessing satisfaction with marital interaction.
They were the most satisfied of all groups in how they are handling their children and
parenting duties. These couples also had a relative high on their agreement about the
place of religion in their marriages. Examination of the individual scores indicates that
they see religion as an important aspect of their marriage. This group tended to be
younger, but married longer and have more children than the other types. They tended to
have more education and higher incomes than the less satisfied couple types. The wives
were less frequently employed full-time. These couples appeared to be traditional in their
approach to marriage as seen by their relatively greater frequency of being in their first
marriage, and less than 1% of them were separated. They married younger, had more
children, and the wives tended to work less than in other couples. In addition, neither
partner had considered divorce in the majority of couples and both reported being
satisfied in the vast majority of cases.

If your religion is very important to you, you probably married young, your wife stays at home, you have more kids, and there is slightly-above-average marital satisfaction.

As other commentators have laid out, marriage under current U.S. law is an unwise investment decision, but a brave & smart man can still make it work, particularly if they are religious, marrying while under 25 to another under-25 and building a beautiful life with kids together with a woman who believes she will burn in hell if she cheats on him.

An older man who doesn’t want kids is better off waiting, amassing wealth, and selecting an equal or better partner who adds hugely to his life & shared wealth (while maintaining asset protection.)

PROTIP: In the latter case, question the utility of the state’s involvement  – there is probably no need to get legally married. Make it cohabitation & common law if you like each other that much.


Divorce thoughts are most prevalent in the conflicted & devitalized marriages, and mostly absent in harmonious/vital/traditional marriages.

This suggests that men who b*tch about paternity laws (which really are unfair)  just haven’t discovered how to have these three types of non-divorce-ideation marriages yet.

Here are the variables on divorce & previous marriages:

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 7.38.04 AM

And some interesting demographics:

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 7.40.43 AM

Racial & religious homogamy are highest in couples with vitalized relationships which some manosphere writers will use to justify their existing racism (and I will laugh.)

Harmonious marriages have the fewest children, probably because the partners tend to be older.

Education & income together are probably symptoms of higher intelligence & drive which also means people willing to do what it takes to make long-term relationships work.

Source: Five Types of Marriage: An Empirical Typology Based on ENRICH – David H. Olson, Blaine J. Fowers


One thought on “Research: 60% Of Marriages Are Unhappy

  1. Great Post! Being a married man of 10 years so far i can tell you that you have to put in some work! There is no such thing as “living happily ever after.” the reality can wake a person up from that fairy tale. Contrary to what others believe marriage is not easy even if you marry someone who you really like. They will have their days when you just want to pull your hair out and as well as she or he when you have your days of acting up.

    I learned not to take so personally and just go along for the ride. You will hit those bumps in the road along the way. When that happens you will just have to get up and keep going!

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