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4 Lifelong Benefits of Long-Term Relationships

Research reveals better physical health and fewer symptoms of depression.

Long-term relationships are often seen as a daunting prospect, with many believing that the initial spark of attraction and excitement will inevitably fade away. However, those lucky enough to have experienced the joys of a long-term relationship will tell you that there are incredible benefits to be gained from sharing your life with someone you love.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples who reported high levels of satisfaction with their relationship also reported better physical health and fewer symptoms of depression over time (Whisman, Uebelacker, & Bruce, 2006). Following are other ways that these connections benefit both partners:

1. Comfortable companionship. One of the greatest benefits of a long-term relationship is the deep sense of comfort and companionship it can provide. Another study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that couples who had been together for a longer period of time reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction and intimacy compared to those who had been together for a shorter period (Kurdek, 1999). This suggests that the longer a couple is together, the deeper their connection can become.

When you've been with someone for a long time, you develop a level of intimacy and understanding that can't be replicated in other types of relationships. You know each other's quirks, habits, and preferences, and you feel safe and secure in each other's company. This kind of comfort can be soothing during stressful or difficult times.

2. Shared experiences. When you're in a long-term relationship, you get to share your life with someone in a way that's truly special. You'll create memories together that will last a lifetime, from weddings and births to lazy Sunday mornings in bed.

A study published in the journal Personal Relationships found that couples that engaged in novel and challenging activities together reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman, 2000). Sharing experiences with someone you love can be highly fulfilling, and can deepen your connection to each other. It boosts the release of the hormone oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone” and it enhances the feeling of being close and loved.

3. Support and encouragement. When you're in a long-term relationship, you have someone in your corner who believes in you and supports you, which can be invaluable, especially in challenging times.

4. Growth and self-discovery. Being in a long-term relationship can also be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery. When you're with someone who loves you unconditionally, you feel safe to explore new parts of yourself and try new things. Your partner can challenge you to be your best self, and you can do the same for them. Together, you can learn and grow in ways you might not have thought possible on your own.

While long-term relationships may not always be easy, they can be deeply rewarding.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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