Originally Posted: Feb. 13, 2020
“Involvement in a romantic relationship does not necessarily predict higher well-being,” says study leader Nathan Hudson, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University. “Rather, involvement in poor-quality romantic relationships actually predicts worse well-being than remaining single.”
Romantic relationships can up the odds of being happier, living longer, and, according to new research, even help prevent or delay the onset of dementia. That is, of course, if the relationship is good. And increasingly, science shows that one of the keys to a healthy relationship is to pick a happy and optimistic partner.
The latest research on the topic, published in the Journal of Personality, involved up to eight years of data on more than 4,000 heterosexual couples, revealing “a potential link between being married to an optimistic person and preventing the onset of cognitive decline.” The researchers figure an optimistic partner sets an example that could lead to healthier lifestyle choices that help keep the brain sharp — from quitting bad habits to improving diet or increasing exercise.
“There’s a sense where optimists lead by example, and their partners follow their lead,” says study co-author William Chopik, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. “We found that when you look at the risk factors for what predicts things like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a lot of them are things like living a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity are large predictors,” he says. “People who are married to optimists tend to score better on all of those metrics.”
The findings are suggestive, not definitive, and they don’t account for every situation or all people, of course. READ MORE