A Moment of Science

Newly Single And Less Healthy

When a marriage ends due to divorce or death, the participants see a decline in health as well.

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Photo: morak faxe (flickr)

The stress of getting divorced or being widowed can result in health effects.

Getting divorced or being widowed is often a difficult, harrowing process.  It can wreak mental havoc.

But did you know that losing a spouse also takes a physical toll?

The Physical Toll Of Losing A Spouse

According to one study, a marriage that ends due to divorce or death is often so stressful that the participants see their health decline.

The stress of getting divorced or being widowed can result in less sleep, a poor diet, and less exercise.  Newly single people are more likely than the happily married to have heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Can You Remarry Without Health Declining?

And, the study says, that’s the case even for people who remarry.  The end of a marriage can be so traumatic that even getting married again tends not to completely heal the psychic wounds and dispel the stress.

Get Married And Stay Married

Bottom line, the study found that the healthiest situation is to get married and stay married.

Why?  Because, as other studies have shown, married couples tend to look out for each other’s health.  Married women are more likely to have access to quality health care than single women.  And married men typically have healthier habits.  A single guy is more likely to drink, smoke, and get less sleep than a guy whose wife keeps tabs on his health.

That’s not to say, though, that you should stay married at all costs.  Staying in a bad relationship can be just as stressful as getting a divorce.

But if you’re happily married, that’s a healthy place to be.

  • Bocachica

    Very interesting study. After my first divorce, I hit the gym and started taking care of myself. But then I got into another serious relationship several months later. During that 3yr courtship, we my girlfriend and I got comfortable with each other and began to gain weight. I became very unhappy physically and we later split up due to personal differences. Several months later I met my second wife. We have two daughters together. After almost 5yrs of a struggling marriage, we divorced. She got custody of our girls and I rarely see them due to my working 80hrs a week. I love my two daughters very much and it depresses me that I don't see them as often as I am allowed. I have gained an extra 25lbs, have lots of mood swings, drinking heavily, and getting little sleep. I can feel my health decline and I need to improve my life so that I can be there for my girls. I want them to grow up knowing their father.

  • Bocachica

    Very interesting study. After my first divorce, I hit the gym and started taking care of myself. But then I got into another serious relationship several months later. During that 3yr courtship, we my girlfriend and I got comfortable with each other and began to gain weight. I became very unhappy physically and we later split up due to personal differences. Several months later I met my second wife. We have two daughters together. After almost 5yrs of a struggling marriage, we divorced. She got custody of our girls and I rarely see them due to my working 80hrs a week. I love my two daughters very much and it depresses me that I don't see them as often as I am allowed. I have gained an extra 25lbs, have lots of mood swings, drinking heavily, and getting little sleep. I can feel my health decline and I need to improve my life so that I can be there for my girls. I want them to grow up knowing their father.

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