And not only in a romantic way. Research showsthis link opens in a new tab that married people seem to be less likely to develop heart disease than unmarried people. Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center​ looked at surveys of more than 3.5 million people and found married couples had a five percent lower chance of having cardiovascular disease. Divorced couples could face health risks of their own. The surveys also showed that divored people are more likely to smoke, a habit that raises the risk of cardiovascular problems.

These findings could change the way doctors treat patients. “If one of my patients is recently widowed or divorced,” Jeffrey Berger, MD, MS, director of cardiovascular thrombosis programs, said in a statementthis link opens in a new tab. “I’m increasingly vigilant about examining that patient for signs of any type of cardiovascular disease and depression.”​

But that’s no reason to stay in an unhappy marriage, which research suggests can lead to an increase in heart issues, including heart attacks, rapid heart rates, and strokes. The results hold true even for those who have been married for decades, so only stay in a relationship that truly makes you happy.