Being in a loving relationship, no matter what kind, can give a person a sense of well-being and purpose.In fact, it’s possible that having a sense of purpose can actually add years to your life.

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Whether it’s having someone there to remind you to take your medicine, or having a partner to help take your mind off the pain, research suggests married people who have undergone heart surgery are three times more likely to survive the first three months after surgery than single patients.

Married patients also reported feeling more confident about their ability to handle post-surgery pain and were less worried about the surgery in general.

For most of us, the inside of your head isn’t much better: Your mind is constantly worrying if the relationship will last, wondering if the other person is as committed as you are, fearing that it could all end suddenly and you’ll be left to pick up the pieces.

As humans, the relationships we form with other people are vital to our mental and emotional wellbeing, and really, our survival.

That’s because the fact of the matter is, healthy relationships (romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships -- they all count! But what exactly does a healthy relationship look like?

A positive relationship can be shared between any two people who love, support, encourage and help each other practically as well as emotionally.

Some are specific to romantic relationships, and others aren’t.

Being in a committed relationship is linked to less production of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Speaking of adding years onto your life, research suggests that having healthy social relationships makes a bigger impact on avoiding early death than taking blood pressure medication or being exposed to air pollution.

One study even suggests that a lack of social relationships has the same effect on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

While we might have more modern ways to keep in touch, that doesn’t necessarily mean making a long distance relationship work has become easier for most people.