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Are Bad Dates Bad For Your Health?

  • January 18, 2013 at 5:00 am

There have been several studies done in recent years to determine if there is a link between romantic relationships and our health. One study suggests a healthy and loving relationship is good for the heart. The theory behind this is that people who are in a healthy relationship or marriage tend to have less stress and lower anxiety levels in their lives which can lead to positive effects on their cardiovascular system over long periods of time. However chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer are 20 percent more likely to occur in people who have been widowed or divorced according to University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite. But what about while one is in the dating process? Can a good or bad date affect one’s health?

This question never occurred to me until recently. I was lying down on a hospital bed after being admitted in the emergency room for treatment. Two of my friends were supportively by my side as I was hooked up to a computer which monitored bodily functions such as my heart rate. To lighten the mood, my friend asked me to recall the details of a recent bad date experience. As I was retelling the story about the guy who invited me out never offering me anything and when I asked if he wanted to split an entrée replied, “Do you only want to split this because you can’t afford to pay for the meal yourself?” in addition to thinking I was playing mind games with him the entire night; my friend realized that my heart rate had elevated dramatically on the monitor. Surprised, I thought to myself, let me continue telling the story from a more light-hearted place. I took a deep breath, smiled and finished sharing the details. No difference, heart rate stayed high. Weird I thought. Maybe this is how people get caught on lie detector tests?

It led me to realize how much stress and anxiety this one bad date contributed to my life and how a combination of these bad dates could potentially affect my health. Does this mean that I’m going to stop dating so I can avoid bad dates? No, because I believe one has to go through the bad to get to the good. However, what I will do going forward is be more aware of how a bad date or an unhealthy relationship affects my life. I believe life is too short to live stressed out, anxious and/or frustrated due to finding or being with a romantic partner. Don’t you agree?

Have you ever felt the effects of a romantic relationship on your health?

Photo: Brykmantra / Flickr