Being in a romantic relationship can make neurotic people more stable and less anxious, a new study finds.
Love has its own set of benefits. For the first time, researchers from German Universities of Jena and Kassel looked into how being in a romantic relationship could benefit neurotic people and were pleasantly surprised with the positive findings they made.
The study was conducted on 245 couple between 18 and 30 years of age. These participants were interviewed every three months over a period of nine months. The interviews included filling in questionnaires about their romantic relationships. The participants were also asked to evaluate fictitious everyday life situations and their possible significance for their own partnership. Using the data collected, researchers were able to measure the degrees of neuroticism as well as relationship satisfaction among each couple.
Researchers said that the evaluation part of the study was important because neurotic people process influences from the outside world differently. The researchers noted that this tendency to respond more aggressively to negative stimuli decreased as the participants spent more time in a romantic relationship.
Explaining this occurrence, the authors of the study said that people in a relationship tend to support one another through different situations, leading to the stabilization of neurotic people's personalities.
"The positive experiences and emotions gained by having a partner change the personality - not directly but indirectly - as at the same time the thought structures and the perception of presumably negative situations change," lead author Dr. Christine Finn, said in a press statement.
Researchers noted that the effect was evident in both men and women. This is probably because love makes people approach life with more confidence and see things in a more optimistic manner.
Of course, everyone reacts differently and a long, happy relationship has a stronger effect than a short one," co-author professor Franz J. Neyer, said. "But generally we can say: young adults entering a relationship can only win!"
Finn and Neyer noted that romantic relationships not only benefit neurotic people but also people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Neuroticism is a long-term tendency to be in a negative emotional state. Neurotic people tend to have more depressed moods. They suffer from feelings of guilt, envy, anger and anxiety, more frequently and more severely than other individuals.
Love doesn't only benefit the brain but also the heart. A previous study found that married people or individuals in good romantic relationships are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes compared to those who are single.
Another study conducted by University of Missouri researchers also found that married people enjoy better physical and mental health compared to unmarried people.
As beneficial as romantic relationships are, there can be various negative consequences if a person gets into unhealthy relationships. Very recently, University of New Mexico researchers found that negative outcomes of romantic relationships can hamper a person's mental as well as physical health in a big way.
Researchers from St. George's University of London also noted in a study that people can actually die of a broken heart as it increases the risks of heart attack and stroke by up to 2.4 times.
The current study was published online in the science magazine Journal of Personality.