Marriage does not only increase male and female longevity, but also tends to benefit wives mentally and husbands physically, researchers from Cardiff University, Wales, wrote in the BMJ (British Medical Journal. The authors include both the “smug marrieds” and those in long-term committed relationships.

Authors David Gallacher and John Gallacher wrote:

“. . . on balance, it is probably worth making the effort.”

The authors believe males benefit from long-term stable relationships because their lifestyles are conducive to better health, compared to other men, and. . . . :

“. . . . the mental bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship.”

True love does not necessarily run smoothly in all cases, the authors added, relationships during the teen years are linked to a greater risk of adolescent depressive symptoms, this improves as people get older.

18 to 25 year olds tend to enjoy better mental but not physical health if they are in a romantic relationship.

Single individuals enjoy better mental health than their counterparts in strained relationships. It would be wrong to assume that any kind of relationship is better than being on one’s own.

Splitting up can also have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of both men and women – “exiting a relationship is distressing”.

Those with several partners tend to have shorter lifespans than people in long-term relationships.

The investigators concluded that it is not advisable to avoid relationships to prevent damage to health if they go wrong. It might be better to focus on avoiding bad relationships, because the benefits of a good one far outweigh any fallout risks from unpleasant ones.

A one-billion person years’ study across seven European nations found that those in stable relationships had age adjusted mortality rates that were ten to fifteen percent lower than the general population’s, indicating that on balance making the effort is likely to be worth it.

“Are relationships good for your health? Choose your partners carefully”
David Gallacher, John Gallacher
Student BMJ 2011;19:d404

Written by Christian Nordqvist