7 Ways Monogamy Makes You Healthier
It Might Be Time to Commit
Calling all serial daters: It might be time to commit. Despite Tinder's best efforts, the so-called "dating apocolypse," is starting to hit its breaking point, chucking a culture of constant hookups in favor of a more committed one. According to a new Match.com survey, 1 in 5 singles would start a committed relationship right now—even with someone they weren't sexually attracted to. The survey also found a whopping 89 percent of people believe in marriages that last a lifetime. All hail the return of the fairy tale!
"It's about people's innate desire to connect with each other," says Rebecca Hendrix, a couples therapist in New York City. "We need to connect with each other just as much as we need water or air." But this turn of tides isn't just a shift away from swiping. There are some serious mind and body benefits to getting together with your babe.
Long-Term Love Protects Your Ticker
Being in a relationship doesn't just make your heart sing physically, it has tangible effects too. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
, marriage reduces the risk of heart attack in both men and women across all age groups. Researchers say we can thank a combination of factors, including social support, better care, and less stress. Now there's something to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. (You don't even need to be physically close to your partner to have a successful union. Check out the 6 Ways a Long Distance Relationship Makes You More in Love.)
A Cutie Could Help You Stay Fit
Finally, a scientific argument for asking out that cutie from your Crossfit class. Research in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
finds it's easier to adopt healthy habits from your partner than start them on your own when you're single. All the more reason to make "lazy" one of your relationship deal-breakers.
Your S.O. Can Make the Pain Hurt Less—Really!
Pairing up will actually reduce the way you process pain, according to a study published in PLOS One
. Researchers subjected participants to mild pain and then showed them pictures of either their significant other or an equally attractive aquaintance. The results: When looking at their lover, people tended not to notice the pain so much. Why? Being reminded of your S.O. activates reward centers in your brain that override the experience of pain.
People with Spouses Live Longer
Want to add more years to your life? Saying "I do" could help! Married people tend to have greater social networks (i.e. family, kids, in-laws, and couple friends) which serve as sources of support. And this could be why a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family
found that committed partnerships led to longer lives. Did you know women tend to live longer than men too?
Your Husband Can Squash Your Stress
Thank your significant other for making you less stressed. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University found that being in a long-term partnership altered hormones in a way that made the body produce less of the stress hormone cortisol. Dealing with your sweetie may be a headache at times, but researchers hypothesize that the committed bond fortifies your brain against other psychological stressors. Hey, it's easier to take on the world as a team.
Co-Habitators Are Less Likely to Be Depressed
It's not all about putting a ring on it. Researchers from the University of Cornell found that cohabitating couples reaped the same stress-reducing benefits and had lower levels of depression than their single counterparts. (Will Moving in Together Ruin Your Relationship?) "Having a healthy relationship where you know that somebody's going to be there for you when you reach out for them means we have less of a likelihood to feel like we're alone in the world," says Hendrix. And creating a happy home with your honey can make outside stressors seem a lot more manageable, she says.
Your Honey Makes You Happy
It may seem like a no-brainer, but there's a body of research supporting the fact that being in a healthy committed relationship simply makes you happier. The most comprehensive look at happiness and commitment comes from a 75-year-old body of research from Harvard called the Harvard Grant Study. This incredibly in-depth look at joy and relationships over the course of a lifetime found that as we age, having a stable partnership becomes increasingly important to our happiness.