Stressed Out Wives Make Their Husband's Blood Pressure Rise, New Study Says, Especially When They're Both Unhappy With The Relationship

With one in three adults suffering from high blood pressure, stress is a big problem in the United States. We may not be the most stressed-out country in the world (that honor goes to Nigeria), but we definitely have a hard time relaxing, and it takes a toll on us both physically and emotionally. While we may think that our stress is just our personal problem, a new study has found that our stress affects our partner, too, especially as we get older.

The study by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor looked into 1,350 couples over a four-year period to see if there was a link between stress levels and its affect on relationships. It found that older men with stressed out wives are more likely to have higher blood pressure than men married to women who aren’t so stressed. Other attributes to higher stress in these men were when both parties were dissatisfied with the relationship, but if only one was unhappy, blood pressure levels for both remained unchanged. Basically, misery loves company, and your blood pressure agrees.

Another study that included 22,000 samples further confirmed that stressed out women create higher blood pressure in their male partners, but the women had lower blood pressure when their husbands were stressed. It was only when men became dissatisfied with the relationship that women experienced an increase in blood pressure, other than that, the guy could be working 80 hours a week, dealing with stress outside the home, and his wife was basically all, “Whatever.” Mild exaggeration, but you get the point.

What this led the researchers to believe is that as men age they are more dependent on their female partner for emotional stability and support. Because older couples tend to follow more traditional gender roles in ways that younger couples do not, if a woman’s stress stands in the way of her ability to be a caregiver, men suffer because of it. I guess what this also means is that traditional gender roles aren’t really doing relationships any favors, but considering some of these participants were born as far back as 1953, I’m going to take the more sympathetic route and just say give them a pass.

In the end, if you need to take your stress levels down a few notches for the sake of your partner, that’s not exactly a bad idea. Not only will he benefit, but so will you...

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