Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Getting Married and Not Getting Healthy: Decades of Data

If you get married, will you get healthier? Here I scrutinize decades of data, and take on the claims about physical health (including weight, exercise, blood pressure, stroke, heart health, sleep, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and cancer), and mental health (including emotional health, depression, suicide, and psychopathy). Read More

Again, speaking only for me

All I know is, when I was married, we had totally different dietary patterns but his won because he had the temper and thought nothing of turning over a plate of something he didn't like. I ate food that made me feel sluggish while he packed on 100 pounds. And sharing a bed--a cat is the only creature that will ever share my bed again! The snoring, the thrashing--I bought a day bed and put it in my office and woke up there almost every morning. When I moved out, it was a joy to buy and cook the foods that made me feel nourished and healthy, and to actually sleep at night. It's a lot easier to take life by the horns when you're well fed and rested.

People who are already healthy are the ones that are most likely to get married

The people who benefit from marriage are usually Caucasian, educated and are from upper-middle class households. When they marry they combine resources. Their existing money, ability to earn more money and stress-free lifestyles can lead to extremely healthy and long lives.

Now if one is black, poor, addicted to drugs and has unhealthy eating habits and that person marries, the mere existence of a marriage certificate will change very little to make that person healthy.

Marriage has very little to do whether one is going to be healthy or not. Health specialists have assumed for years that marriage transforms people. It doesn't, it changes absolutely nothing.

Happily single versus unhappily single

The single versus married studies should break the single category into two separate categories of 1) happily single people and 2) unhappily single people. The happily single people like most everyone responding on this blog almost definitely have an entirely different outlook on life than the unhappily single people. I suspect many of the unhappily singles would be the people that have issues with comfort foods and varying degrees of depression.
One example where happily singles probably have an advantage over married people would be eating habits. For myself (happily single) I find it to be much easier to eat healthy while single than when I've been in relationships. When in a relationship the person that prefers unhealthy foods can use a variety of strategies to drive the food quality down to a level that they like. Psyngle described how it can happen if a guy is the unhealthy eater. Myself, I'm a guy, and it was my live-in girlfriend that craved the unhealthy garbage. With her around it was impossible to eat a consistently healthy diet. There were continuous disagreements over food, which were usually resolved with compromises that resulted in food (homemade or restaurant) that was less healthy than what I wanted. Fixing my own food didn't work because if I made enough for 3 or 4 days worth of meals and stored it in the refrigerator, she'd gobble it down while I was at work. Now that I'm single, eating healthy is extremely easy.

Male perspective: marriage is a drag on fitness, health

I'm writing from a male perspective but these challenges are probably the same across genders:

- Eating healthy is a challenge in U.S. culture. The married lifestyle, and the inevitable differences of habit and opinion, tend to erode one's plans and complicate efforts to stick to a healthier, non-conventional eating regimen. As a single fellow, you eat when you're hungry, and try (more or less) to eat as healthy as one's cravings will permit. Married, you are constantly expected to eat on a schedule, not in response to hunger, and to eat cuisines you may not like. Which inevitably again means you seek out the simple foods you really enjoy in addition, leading to a net gain in caloric intake.

- Different people gravitate to different exercise styles. Obviously men and women have different capabilities, and attempting to exercise together means compromise to a lowest common denominator.

What I found to be absolutely critical is to take a hard line about maintaining the same diet and exercise habits one had while living independently. A coupled state, and marriage in particular, accelerates the physical aging process.

may I quote you?

Hi logic001,

A new study will soon be published (only the abstract is available so far) showing once again that married men are fatter than single men. I'll probably write about it, maybe for my Single-at-Heart blog, http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/.

If I do, is it OK to quote this comment you posted? If so, should I quote you as logic001, or would you prefer some other name?

Either way, thanks again for this interesting comment.

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Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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