Which is more stressful? – Before you become entangled, ask yourself: What’s love got to do with it? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). Think marriage is stressful? New studies show that NOT being married (or in a committed relationship) is even MORE stressful. But falling in love comes at the cost of losing two close friends.

Being married has often been associated with improving people’s health, but a new study suggests that having that long-term bond also alters hormones in a way that reduces stress, and unmarried people in a committed, romantic relationship show the same reduced responses to stress as do married people. The culprit is the stress hormone cortisol, which unpartnered people have in higher levels. Researcher Dario Maestripieri says, “Marriage and social support can buffer against stress. Although marriage can be pretty stressful, it should make it easier for people to handle other stressors in their lives. What we found is that marriage has a dampening effect on cortisol responses to psychological stress. We found that unpaired individuals of both sexes had higher cortisol levels than married individuals.”

Despite this, researchers studying college students found the a group of friends, which usually numbers about 5 people, dropped by 2 as a new lover came to into the picture. In other words, there was room for one extra person (a former friend or sibling of one of the partners) in the relationship, but not for more than that. In BBC News, Jonathan Amos quotes anthropologist Robin Dunbar as saying, “What I suspect happens is that your attention is so wholly focussed on your romantic partner that you just don’t get to see the other folks you [used to] have a lot to do with, and therefore some of those relationships just start to deteriorate and drop down into the layer below.”When our readers and listeners who claim to love us so much don’t support this site, who gets hurt the most? ALL OF US! Keeping this website going is a group endeavor and we need every one of you if we’re going to still be here tomorrow. It costs less than a latte a week to make sure we’ll still be here the next time you fire up your computer, with our news and views and wonderful radio shows (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), so don’t cheat, do YOUR part: Subscribe today!

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