The link between relationship status and well-being is a complicated one. Despite plenty of sensational headlines—”Get married and get fat!” “Stay single and die young!”—it’s hard to say definitively whether being a spouse or a singleton (or something in between, as many people are today) is healthier overall. That’s because every relationship and every person is different. And because scientists can’t randomly assign study participants to either get married or stay single, it’s impossible to rule out other factors that could be at play. Still, trends do seem to exist among people in different types of relationships, with potential lessons that all adults—regardless of their marital status—can use to better their quality of life. Here are some reasons why flying solo may affect your health for better.
You’re less likely to gain weight, a study in the journal Health Psychology shows that happily married couples tend to gain weight in the four years after getting hitched. Without the pressure to attract a new mate, newlyweds can get complacent about their appearance. Another recent study in the journal Body Image showed that women who feel pressured to slim down before their wedding gained more weight within the following 6 months. Married men were more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their peers who were single, in relationships, or engaged.
You’re more likely to exercise regularly, there may be some truth to the idea that people who “settle down” ease into unhealthier habits, at least when it comes to some measures of physical fitness. Many single women and men care about their health and their well-being, they exercise, eat right, and live overall healthy lifestyles. A study showed that, unmarried adults exercised more than married ones, including those without kids. A British survey echoed these results, finding that 76% of married men and 63% of married women failed to meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Only 24 and 33% of single men and women, respectively, missed the mark.
You may have more close friends, and you may be a better one, at that! A study found that single people were better at maintaining relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family than those who had tied the knot—both with and without kids.
You stress less about chores and money, one stereotype of single people is that they’re constantly worried about finding a mate—but that’s certainly not true for everyone. And in fact, there are plenty of areas where single people stress less than those in relationships. According to a study, for example, they do less housework than married people. Money woes may weigh less on single people as well. Married people are also more likely to have credit card debt—not exactly a health issue in itself, but something that has been shown to detract from both emotional and physical wellbeing.
Single people may embrace alone time and benefit from it more than married people., according to psychotherapy, solitude can have a range of benefits for your mental health. It may also help you be more productive and more creative. In other words, alone doesn’t have to be lonely!
|Take away tip
The choice between living a single or a married life is usually personal although some may be forced by circumstances for instance being single due to lack of a suitable partner or being forced to marry according to customs. Both single and married lifestyles have benefits and drawbacks especially when they are viewed from the angle of the attributes involved for example freedom, companionship as well as cost/efforts. All the benefits enjoyed by a single or a married individual are not without a price and hence one cannot clearly state the lifestyle that is better than the other and the decision is therefore personal depending on how one takes it.
Q&A: If you are married, single or in a relationship, Share your opinion with us regarding the pros and cons for every status according you your experience.
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