Having Kids Can Mean End Of Marital bliss

Thought marriage, money and kids were the cornerstone of happiness? Think again.

According to Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, who told about the finding in the "Happiness and its Causes" conference in Sydney on May 7, only marriage proved to be a constant source of joy.

"Figures show that married people are in almost every way happier than unmarried people - whether they are single, divorced, cohabiting," News.com.au quoted Prof Gilbert, as saying.

    People are extremely happy before they have children and then their happiness goes down
"Married people live longer, married people earn more money per capita, married people have more sex and enjoy it more. Married people seem to be happier on every dimension that you can imagine," Gilbert said.

Money can also buy happiness - just not as much happiness as people think.

"Money buys you a lot of happiness first and then it buys you less and less - every dollar buys you less happiness as the dollar before, and you reach a point where money is doing almost nothing for your happiness. But it's never the case that more money makes you sadder. If you get millions and millions you never get depressed about it," Prof Gilbert said.

And despite the belief that children were the apples of our eyes, they actually had a negative impact on happiness.

The more kids you had, the sadder you were likely to be, Prof Gilbert said.

US and European studies had shown that people's happiness did spike while they were expecting a baby but sharply plummeted after the child was born.

The low point came when children reached the ages of 12-16, and recovered only when they had flown the coop, he said.

"In reality ... children do seem to increase happiness as long as you're expecting them, but as soon as you have them, trouble sets in," he said.

"People are extremely happy before they have children and then their happiness goes down, and it takes another big hit when kids reach adolescence.

"When does it come back to it's original baseline? Oh, about the time the children grow up and go away."