They assessed the well being of the people with measures of self-esteem, life satisfaction, general happiness and distress symptoms. romantic relationships also had a positive effect on sexuality, physical and mental health. People who cohabit are next on the scale of happiness, followed by those in steady relationships and then those in casual relationships. Un-partnered people report the lowest levels of well being, the study noted.
Even those in relatively unhappy marriages appear to benefit from being married, perhaps because they benefit from marriage's stability, commitment and social status, Dush said.
"Being married is associated with higher self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, greater happiness and less distress, whereas people who are not in stable romantic relationships tend to report lower self-esteem, less life satisfaction, less happiness and more distress," she explained.
The bottom line, say the Cornell researchers, is that having a romantic relationship makes both men and women happier, and the stronger the relationship's commitment, the greater the happiness and sense of well-being of the partners.