INT'L MEN'S DAY FEATURE: The health benefits of being a 'one burner'

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INT'L MEN'S DAY FEATURE: The health benefits of being a 'one burner'


Monday, November 16, 2020

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WHILE the term 'one burner' is often used as a lighthearted insult directed at men who only have one long-term partner, there is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, 'one burner' should be a title of honour, as monogamous men enjoy several health benefits — both physical and emotional — that their frivolous partners do not.

“Monogamy facilitates deeper intimacy,” says relationship coach and author Caleen Diedrick about the emotional benefits of monogamy. “It creates a space for people to get vulnerable and share, and that oftentimes doesn't exist in casual encounters. You can actually talk about dreams, aspirations and fears, and this helps the couple to get closer, and creates a bond that is deeper than something that's just physical.”

This openness that exists in monogamous relationships is perhaps one of the reasons why studies have shown that men in long-term committed relationships tend to be generally less stressed than those who are not.

Here are some other reasons why it is better to be a one burner:

Longer life

A survey of over 100,000 American adults showed that married men are not only in overall better health than their peers, but that they live longer, reports Harvard Health. “Men who marry after age 25 get more protection than those who tie the knot at a younger age, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage over his unmarried peers,” it says.

It's better for your heart, truly

Studies also suggest that people in long-term monogamous relationships have fewer heart problems. A review of several studies published in the Heart medical journal showed that “People who weren't married were at a 42 per cent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 16 per cent higher risk of developing coronary artery disease compared to married people.” Note carefully, though, that the risk increases in divorced or widowed people.

Your sex life can get better with time

Diedrick adds that because of the openness in 'one burner' relationships over time, partners become more confident sexually, and tend to enjoy the experience more. “So certain fantasies that you would not want to act out, or even mention, in a casual or open relationship, these can take life within monogamous unions. If you pay attention, with time you will learn what really pleases your partner and what doesn't work for them, so the intimacy will improve and get stronger.”

Safer sex

“There is also the safety and security of the sex,” Diedrick adds. “Monogamy creates that space where you can freely enjoy your partner without fear that there might be any diseases that you are passing to each other.”

Medical doctor Alex James adds that truly monogamous couples are at a lower risk of contracting STDs. “Assuming that both partners remain faithful, and that they were screened for STDs at the start of the relationship, then the risk is very low,” he said. “But bear in mind that once one or both persons step out of that, your risk of contracting a disease is the same as those with multiple partners.”

Healthier habits

“Being married also means you have someone looking out for you and reinforcing healthy behaviours,” says Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center. This is perhaps why unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking tend to be less among men in committed unions globally. In Canada, for example, studies show that married men smoke 10 per cent less than single men. Research also shows that rates of diabetes, Alzheimer's, lung disease, and other chronic ailments are lower in married people than in unmarried people.

Less stressful family structure

As you can imagine 'one burners' do not run the risk of having children outside the home. This sets them up for a smoother parenting experience. “So when it comes to raising your family, for example, you don't have to worry about child sharing and maintenance and so on,” Diedrick explained. “And in terms of best practices for parenting, having mom and dad co-existing in the same space and imparting knowledge and values, that also goes a long way.”

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