The Billionaires Agree that Love is the Key to Happiness

Who says billionaires don’t have feelings?

Elon Musk recently made headlines after he was quoted in a cover story for Rolling Stone stating that he needs to be in love to lead a happy life. “If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy,” Musk told reporter Neil Strauss. The serial entrepreneur’s yearlong relationship with Amber Heard ended this past July – something he admitted to having caused “severe emotional pain.”

For some people, Musk’s sentiment couldn’t ring truer – and it has little to do with desperation or neediness. Some people just function better when they’re in relationships: it’s that simple and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. While there have been times in my life when it’s been pretty much imperative that I remain single (you know, to focus on that whole career thing), I am generally calmer and more grounded when I am in a relationship – and so are most of my girlfriends. We become better versions of ourselves when we’re no longer falling asleep and waking up alone, and when we’re not the seventh wheel at couples’ dinners.

There have been many studies that show that satisfying relationships are associated with better health, greater happiness and a longer life. A Harvard grant study released earlier this year revealed that loving relationships were the key to physical and emotional wellbeing. The research involved the study of men for close to 80 years and documenting details about their mental and physical health every two years. The findings revealed that those who were happiest and healthiest reported strong interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, those who were isolated had declines in mental and physical health as they aged.

This effect, however, is not restricted to romantic relationships, but close bonds in general – something no amount of money can buy, but that billionaires value. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both say that the definition of success has little to do with money, rather in the quality of the relationships had with those around you. “Warren Buffett has always said the measure [of success] is whether the people close to you are happy and love you,” Gates wrote of his friend in a Reddit Ask Me Anything post. In a 2008 talk with Ivey Business School MBA students, Buffett said, “Being given unconditional love is the greatest benefit you can ever get.”

When it comes to romantic relationships, the perks of being in a happy one are countless: that secure feeling of unconditional love, someone who will always have your back, someone to come home to, someone to build and share dreams with, a reliable date and regular sex (although, I do know some singles who have just as much sex as couples). On the topic of regular sex, it has been linked to everything from an improved immune system to less of likelihood to developing heart disease. Being in a relationship can also make you a better, more aware person, as you’re constantly taking someone else’s needs and feelings into account. Not to mention, it can make your life easier when you have someone to share life tasks with.

This isn’t to say that people who are single are miserable; that’s not the case. And it needs to be said that it’s better to be alone than in an unhealthy or toxic relationship. Some of my most liberating and fulfilling years have happened when I have been single. But, the thing is, for many, being single in the city is now associated with anxiety that was less prevalent in the past, as human beings are increasingly reduced to menu items thanks to the seemingly limitless options offered on apps and social media. Having a (good) partner eliminates that pressure to “find someone” from your life when you have enough to stress about as it is.

While, love isn’t easy to find in our ever-moving cities, if you do find it, you should probably hold on to it.