How bad relationships affect your health

Increased risks of coronary heart disease

A stressful relationship or marriage can leave you vulnerable and heartbroken literally. According to a 2000 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who reported moderate to severe marital strain were 2.9 times more likely to need heart surgery, suffer heart attacks or die of heart disease than women without marital stress. This finding held even when researchers adjusted for other factors such as age, smoking habits, diabetes, blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels.

Poor mental health

Although studies have shown that a steady, committed relationship is good for mental health , a difficult and strained relationship perhaps unsurprisingly has the opposite effect. Negative behaviors, such as hostility and criticism, during conflict in relationships have been linked to negative impacts on mental health. In fact, according to a 2003 article in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, single people tend to have better mental health than those who remain in a tumultuous relationship

Heaping stress upon stress

Marital distress can be a chronic stressor. According to a 2003 review in the journal Physiology and Behavior, distressed marriages are a major source of stress for couples. In fact, unhappily married people are generally are worse off in their well-being than unmarried people, the study found.

And marital stress can spill over into the workplace too. According to a 2005 article in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, domestic strain can influence how well people function over the workday, away from home. The researchers measured the blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol of 105 middle-age men and women, and compared them to the self-reported stress levels.