Having an Optimistic Partner Can Help You Live Longer

If you have a happy and positive partner, who makes everything easy for you, your psychological well-being improves. What's more, according to science, it could even help you live longer.
Having an Optimistic Partner Can Help You Live Longer
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Having an optimistic partner, who sees solutions to every problem and makes you smile through all your difficulties, is more than just a gift. In fact, science claims that they can even make you live longer. That’s because when you’re encouraged and nourished with positive emotions, you’re infused with happiness and have the desire to face any difficulty.

During your journey through life, you face multiple challenges. There’ll be some days when you feel down or your health fails. However, having the support of someone who views reality in a hopeful and good-humored way, makes everything easier. They’re the kinds of people who heal, those who bring light when all you can see is darkness. 

Knowing that having a positive partner can make us live longer is a rather interesting idea. We live in an increasingly aging society and it’s fascinating to think that the way to reach the autumn of our life in good health is by having an optimistic partner. Indeed, it seems that the kinds of people who always view the glass as half full and see the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow allow us to better deal with stress.

In addition, scientists claim that having an optimistic partner allows us to reduce our risk of cognitive decline. Let’s take a closer look.

Couple looking at each other happy to have an optimistic partner
When you have a partner who always gives you encouragement and positivity, your physical and mental well-being improves.

Having an optimistic partner improves longevity, well-being, and cognitive efficiency

Having an optimistic partner doesn’t mean spending your life with someone who looks at life through rose-colored glasses. There’s far more to it. As a matter of fact, the optimistic personality applies a constructive attitude, focuses on opportunities, sees solutions to any challenge, and infuses others with confidence and joy in life.

That said, it isn’t easy to be so optimistic, even less so to be defined by this trait and characteristic. However, we all know such people. They might be friends, colleagues, parents… They’re men and women who are made of special material. They provide practical solutions to every problem and make life easy for those around them.

We also know that these profiles are defined by higher levels of subjective well-being in times of adversity (Carver et al., 2010). Furthermore, they’re less likely to develop mood disorders and experience better health than the rest of us. Now, science has gone a step further and states that having a positive partner even allows us to live longer.

Happy and positive people make it easier for their partners to have a better life

In 2017, Michigan State University conducted an interesting study. It claimed that having an optimistic and happy partner infuses us with those same positive valence emotions. This influences our own health. The correlation is also justified by multiple variables. For example:

  • Optimistic men and women generally have good networks of friends. They’re extremely sociable figures who don’t hesitate to seek support when they need it, and to offer it when others request it. This means that their partners are also immersed in these enriching dynamics.
  • In addition, they’re usually defined by healthier lifestyle habits. For instance, they’re active and open to experiences and social interaction, etc. This has a positive effect on their physical and emotional health.
  • Optimism is also related to cooperative problem solving, and more effective communication. It reduces the impact of stress and anxiety.

Having an optimistic partner reduces the risk of cognitive decline

Over time, life expectancy has increased considerably. Indeed, in advanced countries, it’s common for people to reach their 80s and even 90s. However, we want to ensure that we reach these ages in good health, and with our full faculties so we can continue enjoying, learning, and experimenting.

In 2020, the University of Michigan conducted another study. It claimed that having an optimistic partner protects against cognitive decline. In fact, it can reduce our risk of developing dementias. The reason? It’s because sharing time with someone stimulating, who only gives us positive emotions, support, affection, and positivity, acts as a nutrient for our brain health.

Hands symbolizing the happiness of having an optimistic partner
Optimistic partners are those who know how to give support and with whom you have fewer conflicts.

Partners with whom coexistence is simple and magical

Optimistic partners make living together easy. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any differences and there won’t be occasional arguments. There will be. However, they’re capable of resolving disagreements in a short time and don’t focus on what separates the two of you, but on what unites you.

They make everything easy, remind you of your strengths, and inject hope into your life and magic into your relationship. Any moments of stress are short-lived, worries are resolved, and they always find ways out of every difficulty.

Their optimism isn’t naive, but constructive and practical. They’re an ally in your journey through life and their enthusiasm positively affects both your physical and mental well-being.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

    • Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 879-889.
    • Chopik WJ, O’Brien E. Happy you, healthy me? Having a happy partner is independently associated with better health in oneself. Health Psychol. 2017 Jan;36(1):21-30. doi: 10.1037/hea0000432. Epub 2016 Sep 19. PMID: 27642761.
    • Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1992). Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16(2), 201-228.
    • Oh, J., Chopik, W. J., & Kim, E. S. (2020). The association between actor/partner optimism and cognitive functioning among older couples. Journal of personality, 88(4), 822–832. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12529

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.