Are you better off alone? The finding of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in PLOS One, shows that you might actually be better off single than be in an obstructive relationship. While the link between mental health issues and social support structures have been known for years, this study set out to see if a link exists between the quality of our relationships and the likelihood of developing depression.

So, are we really better off alone? It depends on the quality of your relationship. This study found that people who were not in a relationship were less likely to develop depression than people in unsupportive relationships. However, people in supportive high quality relationships were not at an increased risk to develop depression. The researchers found that one in seven adults in a low quality relationship will develop depression as opposed to only one in 15 for those in supportive high quality relationships.

This doesn’t mean to throw in the towel at the first sign of relationship strain. Instead, it reinforces the fact that maintaining a healthy, loving, and supportive relationship with our spouse is a critical component of being happy. Creating and maintaining a supportive environment for your relationship takes a worthwhile commitment and if you feel that this environment is falling apart it is important that you take the steps to rebuild it. Dr. Alan Teo, the study’s lead author, suggests that “broader use of couples therapy might be considered, both as a treatment for depression and as a preventative measure.”

Couples counseling is an effective way of rekindling that spark you once had in your relationship. Sometimes outside distractions and stresses of life make it difficult to put in the time and energy of keeping a healthy relationship. Couples/marriage counseling can help you and your spouse develop new strategies to keep the focus on your relationship while fulfilling all of life’s other obligations. Professional counseling provides an open forum to air out issues, develop compromises, and move forward. The findings of this study are not surprising; the people we choose to spend our lives with have a profound effect on our emotional and mental health well-being.

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If you feel that your relationship needs a spark with marriage or couples counseling, contact me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I’ve been specializing in helping couples grow and work through their issues for 10 years. My approach to couples counseling is compassionate and respectful. It’s all about relationships!

Your Relationship Expert,