[sidebar] "So many factors affect our health, whether it's the behaviors we exhibit toward each other or the habits that we pass on to each other," says psychologist Maryann Troiani, co-author of Spontaneous Optimism.So whether you're dating casually, shacking up, or already married, keep in mind these key ways your romantic bond may influence your mind and body. Weight gain It's a common belief that couples "let themselves go" after pairing off, and there may be something to it."Dissatisfaction in the relationship can lead to passive-aggressive eating behaviors and sleep problems, which will lead to weight gain," she says. Stress levels Surprise, surprise: Regular physical intimacy appears to reduce stress and boost well-being.One study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that people who frequently had sex were healthier mentally and more likely to report greater satisfaction with their relationship and life overall. And your partner's behavior outside the bedroom can just as easily send stress levels soaring in the opposite direction.It's also true that relationship conflict and a lack of intimacy can drive people to drink.Research suggests that both men and women drink more in response to relationship problems—and excessive drinking, in turn, can add fuel to those problems. There are so many other personal, social and economical reasons why abstinence is a great idea. We believe that your life counts, and you are a person worth waiting for.
In a 2010 World Health Organization study of 35,000 people in 15 countries, those who were married—happily or otherwise (the study didn't specify)—were less likely to develop anxiety and other mental disorders. Depression Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, so it makes sense that relationships can affect depression in similarly complex ways.
According to a 2012 review, people tend to gain weight as they settle into marriage and lose weight when a marriage ends.
But Troiani has seen the opposite happen quite often, as well: "A happy couple can motivate each other to stay healthy—they'll go to the gym together, set goals, and feel responsible for each other." When couples do pack on the pounds, she adds, it may be a symptom of conflict, not slacking off.
"It only takes a few seconds of contact to stimulate those hormones and to help overcome stress and anxiety." 4.
Sleep problems Sleeping next to someone you love and trust can help you fully relax and embrace sleep, Troiani says.