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10 Ways Love Can Wreak Havoc on Your Health

4 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Is your relationship bad for your health?

That depends—while solid, happy partnerships and marriages can make us stronger in health, mind, and body; turbulent relationships are breeding grounds for stress, depression, weak immunity, and weight gain, particularly if we learn these bad habits from our partners.

So regardless of your relationship status, your romance may be wreaking havoc on your health in the following ten ways…

1. Sleep Deprivation

Many of us can’t get a good sleep without our partner snuggled up beside us. However, if your spouse is tosses and turns, talks in their sleep, or suffers from snoring or sleep apnea you may be a walking zombie during the day due to lack of zzzz’s at night. Sadly, if you’re dealing with a partner who’s robbing you of sleep, you’re more likely to carry that resentment into your daily relationship.

2. Weight Gain

I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “love handles” and there might be something to the name of the extra layer of weight many of us develop around our midsection once we are comfortably coupled off. Studies consistently show that both males and females tend to gain weight after settling into marriage or a relationship; while they’re prone to losing weight after a split. Relationships can be a double-edged sword—we tend to celebrate by over-eating and drinking when we’re happy and we tend to stress eat when we’re unhappy in our relationships.

3. Alcohol Abuse

A bottle of wine with dinner, Bloody Mary’s at brunch, oh and don’t forget the champagne for every birthday, holiday, and one month anniversary! The alcohol we consume while in a relationship can sure add up.  And being in a romance can passively pressure how much we imbibe. Studies show that couples tend to mirror each other’s drinking habits—so if one partner tends to overdo the booze; the other will follow.

4. Withdrawing from Friends

We all have that friend who as soon as they couple off, they disappear for months.  And even though we’ve all been guilty of throwing ourselves a little enthusiastically into a new romance; we must eventually resume our independence and our own friends in order to stay sane. If you ditch your social circle when you’re in a relationship, you’ll end up bored and resentful of your mate eventually—and you may find yourself with no friends to help you pick up the pieces.

5. Financial Stress

Overspending in a new relationship is often common if you want to spoil your new love. However, if you end up in debt, it could put a damper on your relationship. Remember, you had a budget before you got into a relationship—don’t make financial stress the reason you split up a happy relationship or marriage.

6. Depression

It’s no surprise that depression can affect one or both partners involved in an unhappy or abusive relationship. Studies show time and time again that marriage woes—such as addiction, abuse, infidelity, and financial stress increase the risk of clinical depression.

7. Inactivity

Despite the brief bouts of activity you might get in the bedroom, many couples become inactive once they’re in a relationship. Perhaps you have a tendency to let your gym membership slide, or maybe you ignore your morning runs so you can stay snuggled up in bed with your sweetie once coupled off. Regardless, once the relationship has progressed and you gain weight, you will only resent your partner for “making” you lazy or vice versa.

8. Heartache

Love hurts! And according to a Columbia University study, thinking about an ex-partner can actually create physical pain, which explains the term “broken hearted,” which medical researchers use to explain the literal swelling of the heart that’s prompted by extreme emotional stress of a devastating break up.

9. Anxiety Disorders

You might have enjoyed a long “honeymoon period”—the harmonious early stages of a relationship. However, once reality sets in, every couple faces obstacles and differences of opinion that can cause a lot of stress for couples. But for those with a history of social and physical anxiety, marital stress can literally result in full-blown anxiety attacks and disorders.

10. Immune Health

With all of that hugging, hand holding, kissing, and rubbing noses—it’s no wonder that relationships are a breeding ground for germs! You might humorously refer to illnesses you and your partner pass back and forth as cooties, but in reality, if you’re partner is sick with the flu, give them space to recuperate before resuming the PDAs or you might get sick as well.

Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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