By Aly Walansky
Being in a relationship just to be in a relationship isn't a good enough reason, no matter how badly you need to feel "complete," or fill that facet of your life.
Astroglide's resident sexologist, Dr. Jess, says, "I don't believe that it's universally healthier to be single just as it's not universally healthier to be in a relationship. What's healthy for you will depend on your unique situation -- your age, relationship history, emotional health, social style, personal inclination ..."
So, what are the benefits of being single?
1. You get more exercise.
You may have read recent headlines touting marriage as the cure-all for everything from heart disease to depression, but when you look more closely at some of the research, there's a strong body that suggests staying single can also be very good for your health.
"A study of 13,000 Americans aged 18 to 64 found that those who have never been married get more exercise than all other relationship categories (divorced/separated, married or widowed) regardless of age and gender. Since exercise is positively correlated with a host of positive health measures including positive mood, high energy levels, favorable sleep patterns, improved cardiovascular fitness and even sexual functioning, it seems that singles are onto something good!" says Dr. Jess.
2. You take better care of yourself.
Dr. Jess says, "When you compare health data of currently married women to those who have always been single (never married), the results may vary.
For instance, in one study that looked at six health measures (overall health, chronic health conditions, acute conditions, number of days with restricted activities, days spent in bed because of health problems, and number of doctor visits), always-single women scored the same as married women on three measures and higher on the other three (overall health, bed disability days and doctors visits).
Singlism exists (just ask any single woman who attends a family function or wedding without a date) and it's likely that researchers are confronted with similar biases."
In fact, a 2013 study in Health Psychology revealed that those who are married and happy are more likely to gain weight in the four years after getting married. Hence, the always-touted "letting themselves go" we hear about.
3. You try harder socially.
"Some experts suggest that single people may be more resilient and may form stronger social networks than married people, as they may look for additional opportunities to socialize," says Dr. Jess.
4. You eat healthier.
"While there is plenty of science to back up the benefits of being in a relationship, being in an unhealthy, toxic, depressing, or divorce-doomed relationship is worse for both your mind and body.
Unhealthy and unhappy relationships can lead to a variety of hurtful habits and head spaces, including comfort feasting (eating everything and packing on the pounds because you need a "friend") and control fasting (using food avoidance as a way to control something, anything, in your life)," says dating coach and sex expert, Laurel House.
5. Your friendships last longer.
We may not intend for it to happen, but when we get married, many of our friendships fall to the sidelines. Your priority becomes your mate, and your family.
That's fine, but the flip side is that single people are better at maintaining and keeping friendships, and thus, are better friends. If you have groups of important people in your life to count on, your life isn't as shattered if "the one" is no longer around.
6. You end up with less debt.
While money doesn't equate with health or happiness, debt is sure as hell stressful. It turns out that single people tend to have less debt. If money problems are massive causes of stress, and stress causes death, this is a big one.
7. You become self-sufficient.
If you're on your own, you learn how to relish in quality time with yourself. The ability to exist independently and prosper is an important survival skill that those in couples don't always get to enjoy.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.