It's also true that relationship conflict and a lack of intimacy can drive people to drink.
Research suggests that both men and women drink more in response to relationship problems—and excessive drinking, in turn, can add fuel to those problems.
[sidebar] "So many factors affect our health, whether it's the behaviors we exhibit toward each other or the habits that we pass on to each other," says psychologist Maryann Troiani, co-author of Spontaneous Optimism.
So whether you're dating casually, shacking up, or already married, keep in mind these key ways your romantic bond may influence your mind and body. Weight gain It's a common belief that couples "let themselves go" after pairing off, and there may be something to it.
These links can be difficult to untangle, however, since anxiety has been shown to breed relationship problems (and not just vice versa).
"Dissatisfaction in the relationship can lead to passive-aggressive eating behaviors and sleep problems, which will lead to weight gain," she says. Stress levels Surprise, surprise: Regular physical intimacy appears to reduce stress and boost well-being.
One study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that people who frequently had sex were healthier mentally and more likely to report greater satisfaction with their relationship and life overall. And your partner's behavior outside the bedroom can just as easily send stress levels soaring in the opposite direction.
Relationships can affect sleep in less direct ways, too.
Research shows that relationship insecurity or conflict is associated with poorer sleep—and to make matters worse, sleep problems can exacerbate relationship problems, creating a vicious cycle. Anxiety Relationship difficulties can put anyone on edge, but in some cases they may actually contribute to full-blown anxiety.