While being single might have its advantages, being in a healthy, committed relationship offers so much more.
After all, emotional security is sought by many of us and although every couple has their respective differences and issues, having a partner can actually boost our physical and psychological well-being.
Let’s read these experts’ insight to discover and learn more about the benefits of being in a relationship.
Liz Colizza, MAC, LPC, NCC
Psychotherapist | Head of Marriage Research and Programs, Lasting
People with emotionally supportive partners are physically healthier
There are numerous benefits to being in a healthy, emotionally supportive relationship. I’m not sure being in a relationship, in general, can be classified as a good thing or as having benefits. Some relationships actually compound stress, limit personal growth and contribute to health issues.
There is research that shows that the negative benefits of having no social ties are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So, the extreme reality of being completely isolated is detrimental.
Research that shows the benefits of being in a relationship is usually qualified with “emotionally supportive” or “close” or “healthy.” All the research I will refer to has these qualifications to it – which points to the reality that not all relationships have positive benefits.
Research shows that people with strong social connections live longer. People with emotionally supportive partners are physically healthier.
They are proactive in staying healthy, seek help faster, and recover faster. People in healthy relationships experience less stress and are more likely to achieve their personal goals. People in healthy marriages create meaning together and meaning is shown to contribute to overall well-being and what researchers coin “the good life.“
Related: Best Marriage Books for Couples
Research around the concept of meaning shows that central to our human longing for meaning is a desire for connectedness. Being in a loving relationship fulfills this desire for connectedness and gives us meaning: we know that we matter to someone else and that we have a place in the world.
Here’s a list of benefits of being in a healthy relationship:
- Someone to have fun with and share experiences with.
- Better physical health.
- Longer life.
- Someone to support you in your personal goals and dreams. You are more likely to achieve your goals when you verbalize them to other people.
- A shared sense of meaning and purpose in life. Healthy couples create meaning together whether that’s sharing pursuits, contributing to a community together, practicing religion together, etc.
- Less stress. Healthy couples are able to provide comfort for one another and to support one another in the face of stress.
- The opportunity to care for someone else. Caring for others is shown to have positive health benefits.
- Someone to account for your life. Your partner is a witness to who you are and what you do. Your life is important to your partner and matters to them.
- A safe and secure relationship for you to grow in. You rest in the love and security of your relationship and, therefore, can become your best version of yourself. Healthy, secure attachment relationships are the optimum place for personal growth.
- Emotional support. Your partner validates your reality and helps you make sense of your experiences.
Jennifer Sutton, MBA
Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer | Owner, What If Wellness
Being in a relationship pushes you to become better
I believe one of the key benefits of being in a relationship is that it can help you grow more into your own power and your own truth.
When I am single, it can be really easy to say who and what I am. A partner pushes me to put my beliefs into action. It’s one thing to say that I can love unconditionally; in a relationship, I get the opportunity to try that with another human. I get to fall short of my goal, learn from it, and try again.
I also think that our partners show us other parts of ourselves that we may want to heal/shift that we may not have even noticed.
For instance, if there is something that drives me crazy about my partner, it can mean that I have the same or similar quality/action and I have not realized it’s something I don’t like about myself.
When I feel angry at my partner, I (usually!) first look at myself and ask if there is something I do/say and then I decide if I like that or not. If I don’t like that behavior/belief/action, I use tapping, meditation, and other methods to shift my own actions/words. I know it’s resolved when my partner no longer reflects that to me – or it doesn’t upset me anymore if he does continue to do/say it.
The other way being in a relationship pushes me to be my highest version of myself is that it helps me practice and perfect my own power of creation. When external circumstances don’t match what I want or believe I need, I turn to my practice learned from Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities program.
On a daily basis, I spend a few minutes feeling the end result of what I want and visualizing having reached that goal. If I’m faithful to that process, I can see a shift very quickly and usually with better results than I could have imagined. I can do it easily when I use it for career issues or even family issues, but relationship challenges take it to a whole new level.
When it’s about the relationship of my dreams, it can be a lot harder because I am living with my partner and seeing What I Don’t Want on a regular ongoing basis. To shift it, I have to be true to the practice of visualization, feeling the end result of how I want to feel (happy, loved, valued, etc.)…but without putting a face or name on the person who is in the relationship with me when those feelings are created. I can’t force my current partner to be that person.
I can only create the energy of the situation that I want and hope that he’s the one that steps into it! If he wants to be in a relationship and deeply connected to me, he feels my energy shift and steps in. It really takes this process (some people call it manifesting) to a whole new level to be able to create that shift – to not see what I want, and in fact to live the opposite of it on a daily basis, but still to have such a profound belief that it’s possible, that you feel it and create the space for it.
Sometimes, I also have to use other methods to support the process – removing resistance to the idea of getting what I want by clearing long-held beliefs that I don’t deserve that level of love, that I can’t have it, that it’s not possible, etc. Then I have to embed the new beliefs that I CAN have it and I do deserve it and continue the visualization practice.
Sometimes, the results are almost immediate. Sometimes they take weeks or months. But it doesn’t matter – the key thing is that the relationship is pushing me to be better at creating the outcomes/feelings I want, no matter what my current reality looks like. The better I get at it, the better my life becomes overall.
Licensed Psychotherapist | Life & Relationship Coach
The power to motivate you to be your best
Being in a relationship and receiving love from your partner comes with the benefit of feeling connected to another human being. That connection has the power to motivate you and encourage you to be your best. Some people feel more fulfilled when they are in relationships and are encouraged to accomplish so that their partner will be proud.
Reduction of stress
Another benefit is the reduction of stress due to physical intimacy. Studies show that having a consistent amount of intimacy and orgasms reduce stress and help people decompress from their day. Emotional intimacy can also play a big role in one’s happiness and feelings of encouragement. Being and feeling wanted often motivates people to do better and any form of intimacy can foster these feelings.
In relationships, people also tend to find the things about themselves that need to be addressed and changed to better them.
No one is perfect however, some things that one needs to work on to change themselves for the better is often pointed out in relationships. If one is happy in their relationship they genuinely want to be at their best for the other person and make an effort to do better for the relationship.
Michelle Terry, MA, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Next Chapter Counseling
Partners can challenge each other in positive ways
There are many benefits to being in a relationship. Besides the benefits people typically think of such as having companionship or someone to provide emotional support when they are having a hard time, relationship partners can challenge each other in positive ways.
Each partner can encourage those parts of the other’s personality that may be in the background to come out more often. If you are Type A and your partner is Type B, they can help you learn to slow down. If you like more quiet time but your partner likes more adventure, they can help you get out of your shell.
This works both ways in a healthy relationship, with each person showing a willingness to become more balanced. Being in a relationship offers beautiful opportunities for personal change if you’re willing to grow and appreciate what makes you and your partner different from each other.
Licensed Professional Counselor | Owner, Malaty Therapy
We learn communication, commitment, and sacrifice
There are a lot of benefits to being in a relationship. For one, if a person is going through a lot of self-destructive behaviors, a relationship can be a catalyst for a person to start getting their life together. It is sometimes better to do something for someone else so that we can eventually get to the place where we want to do it for ourselves. Also, relationships help us figure out what we want in a “forever” mate and what we don’t want. All of this is true as long as we are mindful and honest with ourselves.
As a person who works with many teens and young adult males, I know that they are heavily influenced by the people around them. Especially in that age range, having a significant other that keeps you grounded is something that could be really positive. It might even cause them to spend less time with people who are not so good for them.
Being in a relationship can also give us the necessary tools to learn important things like communication, commitment, and sacrifice. We are in situations consistently where we have to and that can take us out of our selfish and self-centered ways if we allow it to. However, it is not always the case and sometimes, if we are not careful we can fall into the trap of becoming a people pleaser or even codependent.
Co-Executive Director, Families for Depression Awareness
Having another person help you stay on track with your wellness
When you are in a loving, long-term relationship, your partner usually knows you better than anyone else. They know when you’re feeling good and when you’re feeling low–sometimes just by the way you walk or the tone of your voice. If you had a horrible day at work, they can be a sounding board, offer support, and help you decompress.
That companionship and intimacy are priceless.
A great benefit of being in a relationship is having another person help you stay on track with your wellness. If your spouse or partner sees that something is wrong, especially with regards to your mental health, they can step in and encourage you to see a professional. Your loved one knows when you aren’t acting like yourself. They know that it isn’t normal for you to blow off a girls’ trip or for you to become forgetful and disorganized.
So often, people who struggle with depression or bipolar disorder aren’t able to fully recognize when their mental health has seriously declined. A loving partner will not only recognize this, but they will also be the one to say, “I’m here for you and I want to help.“
Shirin Peykar, LMFT
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist | Founder, “Let’s Talk Divorce“
Becoming aware of our personal areas for growth
There are so many benefits to being in a relationship, but one of the most cathartic is becoming aware of our personal areas for growth through our relationships. When we are single, our triggers and hot buttons are less apparent than when there is someone showing and telling us where we could grow.
Having someone to support you and witness how far you have come makes it even more worthwhile. We can also be that for our partner, creating mutual advancement.
In a relationship, we have a witness to our lives. This person is there for the good, bad and everything in-between, which makes the hard times less difficult. Having someone to share your life with makes it more joyful, meaningful, and fulfilling.
As humans, we have a biological need for touch, affection and to feel a part of something intimate. A relationship provides opportunities for all of these needs to be met.
Donna Matthezing, RN
Registered Nurse | Founder, Compassionate Care In The Air
The fulfillment of connecting with another human
The main benefit of being in a relationship is the fulfillment of what EVERY single human being needs, that is a connection with another human. Within that connection comes doing things for others what make them happy which then adds to our need to contribute to the wellbeing of others.
There is a sense that I matter, because someone is waiting for me at home or that someone with notice if I don’t make it home. Being able to have a partner who one can have deep conversations or no conversations with is a huge benefit for your mental health.
You can share what’s important, what troubles you and you give trust and show moments of vulnerability that we don’t give up freely to just friends. Having someone to cry to, be tender with and also, the intimacy that humans seek.
We all seek connection and the science backs this in the simple fact that the minute we are born, we are 100% relying on some other human to care for us. That deep love is crucial.
Being in a relationship teaches you strategies on being collaborative, how to sacrifice and how to compromise. All great skills that one needs to live in the everyday world. When we know that we have someone to talk the day over with, have fun with, laugh, cry and lean on when times get challenging, that gives us the courage to keep our head above water and knowing that we make a difference to someone else’s happiness allows us the feeling of our own importance in the big vast universe.
Matchmaking & Dating Expert | Owner, Stef and the City
More than having a “plus one”
If you are in a good relationship, the benefits of a relationship can be more than having a plus one.
You may get more confident overall
If you have a relationship, you may catch yourself smiling, trying harder to do things in your life; fitness goals, work goals, personal goals, to impress your partner and because that special someone can make you feel invincible.
You don’t have to worry about going to events alone
While a relationship doesn’t mean you ALWAYS have a person to go with, it does cut down on the time and stress to find someone for the important things like weddings, family events, or events that seem interesting to try. You may be willing to do more things when you know that it’s not a struggle to have someone go with you.
You don’t have to date
Dating for many people is something that people dread. The endless trying to figure out how to meet someone, if you click, going on 1st dates that seem interviews. People feel confident when they are “not out there anymore” and focus on other pursuits.
Mom & CEO, Hello BabyBump
These are just a few of the benefits you can encounter when you are in a relationship:
Reduction of stress
By having support and someone to vent to you reduce the toll of which stress can take on you. This is particularly true when your significant other can help to relieve the stress by contributing one way or another.
You always have someone you can go to
No matter what the situation is or the issue at hand, you know that there is always going to be that one person standing by you and trying to help you the best that they can. Knowing you have that type of support allows you to focus on the more important and precious things in life.
By being in a relationship it has been proven that it can have a positive effect on your overall health. Not only does the human connection and interaction make you feel better, but you will also constantly be bouncing your moods of one another. So, if you are a little down but your significant other is happy, they can boost you up.
You can have a pile full of memories that you share from personal ones to funny moments that have happened. Re-living these memories can decrease the effects of negative feelings. This is such an important benefit, as it prevents us from slipping into a dark hole.
When you are in a relationship that is strong, you don’t feel insecure about your place. You feel as if you have a purpose. This reduces feelings of anxiety and anger.
Having a great partner makes life problems a lot easier to go through
There are so many benefits of being in a GOOD relationship, not just a relationship. I Love my husband and am grateful we are married. We are both self-employed and are a team. We basically do everything together every day and are fortunate enough to enjoy it and each other.
The benefits are that we always have a partnership and can bounce ideas off of each other for the common good of our household. Being in a good relationship is vital to having a wonderful life and appreciating every day. When you are in a good relationship it calms you down and we feel less stressed.
It is both of us working hard and enjoying the fruits of our labor. It is enjoying going camping together, my husband opening the car door for me all the time, lots of kisses, making it through challenging times together and having someone there with you when it happens.
As a side note, we both have Lyme Disease and suffered with it 5 years ago. I now have it back again and just went through 10 weeks of treatment. By having a great partner it makes all these times a lot easier to go through.