British researchers analyzed results from a questionnaire that included more than 4,400 men and women under age 65. The questionnaire, called the annual British Household Panel Survey, began in 1991. Results of the survey show cohabitating is good for a man's health, but marriage is better for a woman's .
Researchers say men whose relationships with a first partner did not work out reported much poorer mental health than men who remained with their first partner. Men who chose to live with a new partner after a divorce also reported better mental health than those who stayed single or unmarried.
Researchers say the mental health of women who had not split up with their partners was better than that of those who did. In fact, women who lived alone after a divorce reported the worst mental health of all those surveyed. Women's mental health progressively deteriorated the more break-ups they experienced and the more times they moved on to new relationships.
On the other hand, researchers say women who stayed single after a break-up enjoyed much better mental health, but this was not true for men. Researchers say while the mental health of both genders was better in long-term relationships, men who chose to marry their partners had poorer mental health than those who chose only to live with them. Women, however, fared better if they married.
Thus researchers came to the conclusion that living with a partner is better for overall mental health, but women have a harder time recovering from break-ups.