A Happy Childhood May Sabotage a Romantic Happily Ever After, Study Says

Filed under: In The News, Relationships

happy childhood, romantic relationships study

Unhappy childhood? That could mean good things in the romance department later in life. Credit: Getty

"Perhaps I had a wicked childhood. Perhaps I had a miserable youth. But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past, there must have been a moment of truth. For there you are standing there loving me, whether or not you should. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good." -- Maria, "The Sound of Music"

Maria may have been on to something.

Having a happy childhood actually decreases your chances of living happily ever after with your true love, according to a Cambridge University study.

If Maria had more confidence, stemming from a less wicked childhood, she would have been able to take or leave Capt. Von Trapp, perhaps causing her to remain a nun and be captured by the Nazis.

That's the theory, anyway.

Researchers tell the London Daily Mail that happy children are confident children and, later, confident adults. Therefore, they are more likely to cut their losses and walk away from a faulty relationship, secure in the hope that everything will work out.

The Daily Mail reports researchers looked at thousands of Brits born during the same week in 1946. While in their teens, they were rated for happiness, friendliness and energy, as well as the flip side -- restlessness, disobedience and anxiety.

Now that they're all 65, they were studied again to see what became of them.

Professor Felicia Huppert, director of the university's Well-being Institute, tells the Daily Mail many of the happy kids had not-so-happy marriages.

"One factor might be that positive children have higher self-esteem than their peers and are more willing to leave a marriage if it is not meeting their needs," she tells the newspaper.

However, an unhappy marriage doesn't necessarily mean an unhappy life.

Huppert tells the Daily Mail, researchers also found that happy teenagers went on to be content in their work, have more hobbies and busier social lives. They also were less likely to suffer from psychiatric problems in later years.

"Even in this time of great financial hardship, policymakers should prioritize the well-being of our children so they have the best possible start in life," Huppert tells the newspaper.

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