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Relationships – Who Needs Them?

Couple on BeachPerhaps you have experienced misplaced loyalty, broken commitments and trampled expectations from those you considered friends, colleagues and spouses.

If you have been hurt in relationships, you may ask: Relationships – who needs them? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay out of any serious relationship all together?


And yet, we are social animals and require social interaction to survive. Consider this post from Jeney Cadell, PsyD who writes in her blog, How Healthy Relationships Change our Brains,


“We are much more interconnected than we realize. As technology advances and we are able to actually see into the human brain, we now have proof of this.”


Research is literally showing evidence that we are hardwired to connect with each other and “that healthy relationships actually soothe our brains.” Technology is allowing us to see what is happening within our brains.

We were not meant to face “the trauma and difficulties of life” by ourselves. Creating secure bonds is important for our health.


Consider the following statistics from several years ago when I put together my class on relationships:

  • Socially isolated people are two to three times more likely to die prematurely than those with strong social ties. The type of relationship doesn’t matter: marriages, friendship, religious and community ties all seem to increase longevity.
  • Divorced men (before age 70) die from heart disease, cancer, and strokes at double the rate of married men. Three times as many die from hypertension; five times as many commit suicide; seven times as many die from cirrhosis of the liver; and ten times as many die from tuberculosis.
  • The rate of all types of cancer is as much as five times higher for divorced men and women, compared to their single counterparts.
  • Poor communication can contribute to coronary disease.  One Swedish study examined 32 pairs of identical twins. One sibling in each pair had heart disease, whereas the other was healthy.  Researchers found that the obesity, smoking habits, and cholesterol levels of the healthy and sick twins did not differ significantly. Among the significant differences, however, were “poor childhood and adult interpersonal relationships” – the ability to resolve conflicts and the degree of emotional support given by others.
  • The likelihood of death increases when a close relative dies.   In one Welsh village, citizens who had lost a close relative died within one year at a rate more than five times greater than those who had not suffered from a relative’s death.

Do we need each other? Yes, I think we do.


Marlene Anderson

Also in the RELATIONSHIPS series:

Part 2: Relationships: Where Do We Start?

Part 3: Relationships: Love Them or Hate Them

Part 4: Relationships Book Feature: Tales of Two Sisters

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