A new study has suggested that long-term committed relationships are good for physical as well as mental health and the benefits can increase over time.
Married people live longer on an average, according to David and John Gallacher from Cardiff University.
They say that women in committed relationships have better mental health, while men in committed relationships have better physical health, and they conclude that, “on balance it probably is worth making the effort.”
Men’s physical health probably improves because of their partner’s positive influence on their lifestyle and “the mental bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship”, they write.
But the journey of true love does not always run smoothly, maintain the authors, pointing to evidence that relationships in adolescence are associated with increased adolescent depressive symptoms.
And not all relationships are good for you, they add, referring to evidence that single people have better mental health than those in strained relationships.
They also confirm that breaking up is hard to do, saying “exiting a relationship is distressing” and divorce can have a devastating impact on individuals. Having numerous partners is also linked with a risk of earlier death.
The study has been published in the Student BMJ.
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