Surprising ways your partner can affect your health

Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 17:32:39-04

It doesn’t matter if you’re a newlywed or celebrating a golden anniversary, the state of your health can be influenced by your partner. 

Studies have shown having a satisfying relationship impacts your health similarly to eating healthy, sleeping well and avoiding smoking.

You’ve likely heard that healthy relationships make you feel happier and you’ll live longer.  But there are many other benefits.

British research found women in committed relationships had better mental health, while men had better physical health. 

Other studies have shown benefits like improved fitness, achieving healthy goals like quitting smoking, and decreasing your risk of health conditions like cardiovascular problems. One study even found women were relieved of pain when they were touched by their empathetic male partner.

Just like a compassionate male partner could ease pain, it could also make it much worse for women who felt they were not in a close relationship. 

Other adverse effects can be derailing your diet, gaining weight, and an increase of conditions like type 2 diabetes because partners often share similar eating and exercise habits. 

Arguments can lead to health conditions like increasing cardiovascular problems, raising inflammation and worsening a partner’s insomnia.  Dishing out the silent treatment can also lead to stiff muscles and bad backs.

If you’re in a happy relationship, you’ll experience better health:

  1. It takes work to make your relationship successful.   Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings with each other.
  2. You don’t have to agree on everything, but you should try to understand each other’s point of view.  And focus on what you love most in your relationship.
  3. Try to think optimistically.  Research found those with a positive spouse had better mobility and fewer chronic illnesses as they aged.
  4. Try to find fitness activities you both enjoy.  Even taking walks will improve your health and give you time to connect with each other.

Interestingly enough, research found those who were content in their relationships were more likely to gain weight over time.  Especially men and those who became fathers. 

Not being happy in a married meant less weight gain.  It was the opposite of what you’d expect so it’s important for couples to be aware of this and make healthy choices.