Long-married couples don’t view problems the same way – when there’s trouble, women worry, feel sad, and become frustrated, but for men, it’s pure frustration.
That’s what the latest study from the University of Michigan, is saying.
The study, published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, looked at sadness, worry and frustration, exploring the notion of ‘A Happy Wife, Means a Happy Life’.
It regarded the most common negative emotions reported by older adults, discovering men and women truly deal with long-term marriage difficulties differently.
The university’s Department of Sociology Professor Deborah Carr confirmed that men don’t often wish to express vulnerable emotions, while women are more comfortable with it.
Interestingly, the study found that while women feel positive about receiving support from their spouse, men grow frustrated, especially if the support makes them feel hopeless or less competent.
In the study, 722 couples, married an average of 39 years, were asked how their marital experience — and the reactions of their spouse — affected them.
They responded to whether they could open up to their spouse if they needed to talk about their worries, whether their spouse appreciates them, understands the way they feel about things, argues with them, makes them feel tense and gets on their nerves.
The husbands in the study — who more often rated their marriages positively and reported significantly higher levels of emotional support and lower levels of marital strain than their wives — felt frustrated giving as well as receiving support.
“Men who provide high levels of support to their wives may feel this frustration if they believe that they would rather be focusing their energies on another activity,” Professor Carr said.
It may also have something to do with the age of the couples, with one spouse in the study having to be at least 60. Men of this generation may feel less competent if they need too much support from their wives, Carr said.
Originally publisher by Rutgers.