In an environment where the rich and famous are as likely to have a divorce attorney on speed dial as their agent, it seems a celebrity couple is doomed to inevitable failure simply because they are famous, and divorce is a mere casualty of the job.
Yet when one puts aside the glitter and excess, we discover the reasons marriages involving people like Patrick Dempsey, Hilary Duff, Chris Rock and Mariah Carey ended was for surprisingly common reasons; reasons that much of the general population could relate. A multi-million dollar career isn't above bouts of jealousy, infidelity, insecurity, obsession or depression.
We love to have love in our lives. The joyful distraction of thinking of him throughout the day, and the anticipation of the possibilities of this relationship progressing and growing in strength makes our heart race. But if the quickening pulse or clammy palms are the result of an overly critical boyfriend or a jealous girlfriend, your relationship could be killing you. Toxic relationships often lead to extreme stress, depression, and a weakened immune system. Here's how.
Trying to maintain a relationship in a "fight or flight" state of being will surely break down your body's ability to function normally. Anxiety, high blood pressure, and added stress of your heart compromise your health.
In a June 2013 article,How Relationships Can Make You Sick, published on Healthgram.com, the author referenced a study conducted at Ohio State University where researchers discovered married men and women who struggled with ongoing concerns about the stability of their relationships had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The study also found lower levels of T-cells, which help fight infections.
The research concluded, "Those who were the most anxious about their marriages had 11 percent more cortisol and 11 to 22 percent lower T-cell levels than those who were less anxious. The lead researcher said the results are most likely linked since increased cortisol can reduce T-cell production."
Relationships plagued with poor communication, jealousy, deceit, fear, anxiety, and a conflicting goal set all run the risk of creating a chronically stressful environment.
He may be "killing you softly with his song," but he is also doing some pretty serious damage with his words and actions, too. A relationship clouded with mistrust or emotional abuse takes a toll on the partner's emotional and physical well-being.
When negativity leaves cracks in a person's spirit, depression fills those empty spaces. The results could be devastating to one's health.
In her article, 5 Ways a Bad Relationship Can Make You Sick, relationship coach Marcelina Hardy wrote, "When you are arguing with your boyfriend and feeling sick, you don't love your life. Your love should be something that enriches you. It should make you smile in the morning, and feel grateful at night. It should be what lowers stress, rather than create it. For these reasons, take steps to improve your relationship, so it doesn't make you sick. If you've tried to solve the problems and it's just not working, it may be time to consider how much you really need this person in your life."
If you are sustaining a relationship with a partner who is overly critical, constantly suspicious, or possessive, it could be making you sick. An unhealthy relationship invites feelings of hopelessness, a fear of abandonment, and a feeling of loss for unfulfilled goals or any hope for happiness.
Weakened immune system
One of the advantages of being in a healthy relationship is this euphoric energy that fuels your day. When depression invades your enthusiasm for life, it affects your lifestyle choices. Exercise becomes a burden, healthy eating becomes a distraction. Before you know it, you are facing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and a compromised immune system that is unable to ward off infections and disease.
"Unhealthy relationships can be like that," wrote licensed professional counselor and registered nurse, Suzanne Jones in her article, Is Your Relationship Making You Sick. "Sometimes in an effort to be supportive and helpful, we find ourselves drowning in unrealistic and endless demands. We can't bear the thought of hurting this person or letting him down, so we try and try to make adjustments to salvage the relationship. We go to extraordinary lengths to keep this person happy. We sacrifice our peace and happiness for theirs."
She added, "In an effort to be patient and helpful, we may be putting ourselves in harm's way. Like the rescue of a drowning person, we are at risk when we get too close and tangled up in an unhealthy person's problems and issues. These relationships can turn us into a physical and emotional mess."
Throughout the years, love has been blamed for a number of things. Sometimes, it stinks, hurts, even bites. At times, people have been accused of giving it a bad name. However a healthy, strong, solid and positive relationship isn't like that. It enhances your life and improves health.
So, if any of those things apply to the love you have in your life, it's time to drift away to a healthier and life-sustaining relationship.
Dr. Amy Osmond Cook received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Communication. She is Dir. of Provider Relations at North American Health Care and taught writing, communication, and marketing classes at ASU, BYU, and Univ of Utah.