Dating apps, dating shows, and blind dates aim to do one thing — keep us from being alone forever. Pairing up with a significant other and getting married has become more of a social choice than a necessity. Relying on marriage to bring you happiness? A risky gamble.

Now, a study presented at the American Psychological Association's 124th Annual Convention in Denver, Colo. suggests single people may lead more fulfilling lives than married couples.

"The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude," said Bella DePaulo, study author and a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in a statement.

DePaulo, who has studied single life for about two decades, realized the conventional wisdom about single people can be wrong. Contrary to popular belief, single people are not isolated, they’re more likely to support, visit, advise, and stay in touch with their parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. However, when people marry, they become more insular, perhaps relying more on each other than a social network, according to DePaulo.

After analyzing over 800 studies, DePaulo came to the conclusion that most of them did not examine single people, but rather used them as a comparison group to learn about married people and marriage in general. However, the studies that did focus on single people had some telling findings. Research comparing people who stayed single with those who stayed married found single people have a more heightened sense of self-determination, and are more likely to experience  "a sense of continued growth and development as a person," said DePaulo.

Woman with flower Why staying single may lead to a happier, more fulfilling life than getting married. Photo courtesy of Pexels/Public Domain

A separate study noted the more self-sufficient single people were, the less likely they would experience negative emotions. Meanwhile, for married people, the opposite was true. The more one partner or both liked dealing with things on their own, the more likely they were to have negative feelings.

Based on the number of laws that benefit married people, DePaulo believes they should be doing a lot better than single people.

"People who marry get access to more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections, many of them financial," she said.

So, does this mean we shouldn't say “I do?” Not necessarily.

The truth is marriage isn't for everyone, and neither is being single. This could just mean married people wish they could be handling things on their own, and would feel happier if they were single. After all, marriage is a risky business, with about 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side, especially when it comes to love.

Source: DePaulo B. What No One Ever Told You About People Who Are Single. Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. 2016.