In countless movies and sitcoms, it has been said that a single, 40 year old woman is more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married. Fortunately, this infamous statistic, which came from a Newsweek article from over 20 years ago, is wrong. Newsweek recently tracked down 11 of the 14 women that they interviewed for that article and found that eight were married, three were single, several had children, and none were divorced. And surprise, surprise: not a single one of these women was killed by terrorists.
Back when this article was written, women typically got married when they were young for financial security and to have children. Today, on the other hand, it is acceptable for women to postpone marriage in order to focus on their education and careers. Nevertheless, many women are desperate to walk down the aisle, and once they reach the age of 40, they become so obsessed with the prospect that they treat every casual date as a potential husband. After all, time is running out, right? According to popular belief, it’s harder for educated, middle-aged women with a successful career to get married.
Newsflash: Education Does Not Affect Your Chances of Getting Married
Historically, women with a college degree were the least likely to get married, but fortunately, that is now changing. According to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, in 2008, 86 percent of 40 year old white female college graduates were married. The study also found that college-educated women who were unmarried by age 40 were twice as likely to get married within the next 10 years as unmarried 40 year old women with just a high school degree. Among African-American women, 70 percent of college graduates were married by the age of 40.
Unmarried Women in Their 40s Have Better Emotional Well-Being
Even though most people pity women who reach their 40th birthday without a husband, a recent report showed that unmarried women over 40 actually have better emotional well-being than married people. The study, which was published by psychology professor Jamila Bookwala, serves as further proof that being single after 40 is nothing to be worried or ashamed of. In fact, singles over 40 are better equipped to deal with life’s emotional challenges since they’ve been self-sufficient for so long.
Companionship vs. Financial Security
Today, people are less likely to marry for financial security than they were in the past. People now choose partners based on companionship benefits rather than economic benefits. And since women often pursue their own careers and don’t rely on a man to sustain them, they choose to marry someone based on how much they enjoy their company rather than how much money they make.
Given that societal attitudes towards marriage and women have been shifting over the last few decades, it’s hard to say what your chances are of getting married after 40. It is, however, becoming acceptable for women to get married later in life. But is it possible to stay unmarried and be happy? What do you think?