5 Reasons to Love Being Coupled

By Cathy Garrard, SELF magazine

Roses are red, violets are blue, we could live without February 14 and we're guessing you could, too. But don't lament the state of your love life--celebrate it. Whatever your relationship status, there's plenty to love about being coupled.

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1. You're Probably Not Hungover Today

Married women are 20 percent less likely to binge-drink than back when they were single, a study from Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, indicates. Putting a ring on it may prompt women to put their wilder days behind them. And knowing your partner is watching may help you keep each other's vices in check.

Advice for all
: "Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can be good for you," Dr. Brass says. But indulging too heavily may increase your risk for breast cancer. Stick to no more than one drink per day.

2. You Catch the Happiness Bug

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Women who live with a mate tend to brighten up when their partner is in a good mood, according to a study from the University of York. "Emotions are highly contagious, and so is happiness," explains study author Nick Powdthavee, Ph.D.

Advice for all:
The trickle-down glee can come from anyone we know and like, Dr. Powdthavee says, so take a friend out after her promotion or send a note of congrats for a relative's new baby and bask in her joy, too.

3. You Have Better Health Care Access

Single women are 60 percent more likely to lack health insurance than married women, a Centers for Disease Control survey suggests. "Having a spouse increases your odds that you will have employer-sponsored coverage," says Mark Rukavina, executive director of the Access Project, a health research and advocacy organization.

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Advice for all Visit HealthCare.gov to search for the most affordable plans in your state and to find out how reform will improve your access.

4. You Keep Your Brain Young

Couples who marry or live together are half as likely to develop dementia later in life than those who live solo, a study in BMJ notes. Constant social interaction between partners (even bickering) may strengthen the connection between brain cells and prevent cognitive decline.

Advice for all
Paired up or not, everyone can benefit from healthy social connectivity. "With stronger mental health, you'll fare better with any health hurdles that come your way," Dr. Brass adds, suggesting all women build connections by prioritizing church or charity as well as friendships. How about throwing a February 15 party just for fun?

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Photo Credit: WWD