When you first start dating someone, you get that all-too-familiar butterfly feeling in your stomach. Your face flushes and your heart races when you see your crush and spend time with them. You laugh a lot and feel happy, and it makes the beginning of a relationship, otherwise known as a sort of "honeymoon phase," very enjoyable.
However, while the butterflies might fade a bit over time, love—at times—blossoms into a healthy relationship. Aside from feeling happy with your partner by your side, your relationship is actually making you both healthier people, and in ways you wouldn't expect.
Here are seven ways that your relationship is helping you live a happier, healthier life together:
1. It helps you build stronger bones.
That's right! According to a study published in Osteoporosis International, a national sample of individuals living in the U.S. found that men who were married had better bone density compared to those who were not. Women saw a difference in their bone density too, if they were happily married. The study states, "Our findings suggest that marriage before age 25 and marital disruptions are deleterious to bone health in men, and that marital quality is associated with better bone health in women." Meaning, both genders do better in terms of bone health when they are happily married, versus being single.
2. It helps you deal with stress.
Stress can cause all kinds of health issues, but research has found that having sex has a ton of health benefits, which includes being able to lower stress hormones. When two people have sex, the body reduces oxytocin, which works as a natural relaxant. WebMD reports, "Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety," and can also lead to increased levels of self-esteem and happiness. Also, according to Women's Health, "Research from the University of the West of Scotland reveals that people who had intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations such as public speaking."
3. It can bring your blood pressure down.
Research done by the University of North Carolina found that non-sexual touch like hugging and hold-holding can actually cause you and your partner to have lower blood pressure. Physical touch with our partners releases oxytocin, which also lowers blood pressure. Oxytocin is coined as the "cuddle hormone," and is released during both non-sexual and sexual bonding between two people, so it can be released from something like cuddling or kissing, to having intercourse.
4. It can help improve your relationship with your body.
According to Women's Health, "Being part of a happy couple is linked to having a more positive body image for women, according to a new study presented recently at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology." The findings concluded that women who were in happy relationships had a much better and healthier relationship with her body image. This does not mean they were thinner or closer to their "ideal weight," but it did mean that they were more likely to love and accept their body the way it is.
5. Being married actually boosts happiness levels.
Yeah, it turns out your married friends are actually much happier than you if they're , according to a new study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology that found that married people have lower cortisol levels, which is the body's stress hormone. High cortisol levels can lead to a weakened immune system, high blood sugar, and a low sex drive.
6. You're less likely to gain weight.
Contrary to popular belief, your relationship might actually be helping you shed and keep off pounds. This won't be the case for everyone, as the concept of "love chub," or weight you gain when you feeling comfortable in your relationship, is definitely a thing. But there are several people who will actually see the opposite happen—you and your partner can actually keep each other motivated to eat healthy and exercise together. Also, couples who are happily married have a better chance of making healthy lifestyle choices, such as not smoking and getting enough sleep. The oxytocin from bonding can also help you feel full so you're not snacking as much either, so you should go give your partner a hug.
7. It can help curb your pain.
When you and your partner have sex, your body releases a ton of hormones, like oxytocin, endorphins, and sertonin, while all work together to help you feel relaxed after sex. Those hormones also help relieve pain, so getting busy can help relieve back pain from sitting all day at the office, or going for that long run. If you've been dealing with headaches, having sex can cure that too.