Spouses who live separately for a period experience less anxiety and depression, a study has claimed.
Researchers from the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Illinois surveyed nearly 300 married couples, of around 100 lived separately due to various circumstances including employment.
Both the separated and the united couples said they were happy in their relationships but whilst the united couples reported higher levels of satisfaction, the separated couples appeared to be in better health overall. They were on average less anxious, report the researchers, less depressed and less tired than their united friends and colleagues. Separated couples also undertook more exercise and tended to enjoy a better diet.
Speaking to Today, report co-author Steve Du Bois said:
“Potentially, [separated couples] are getting the best of both worlds. They get independence, freedom to pursue their own goals; they get time for things like sleep. At the same time, they are able to reap the benefits of a relationship, which includes feeling supported.”
Consequently, he claimed, the report brings into question “the popular notion that health and happiness in a relationship stem from partner proximity.”
However, another possible explanation for the findings could that couples who already relatively healthy are more successful at long term relationships, Du Bois suggested.
Around 3.5 million married Americans live separately from the spouses Today reports, principally for work.