By Kiera Aaron
Nagging wives and husbands have been the butt of many jokes over the years. But it might be time for people to start taking them more seriously. That’s because a new study found that these spouses could put you in an early grave.
When Dutch researchers tracked more than 4,500 people for 6 years, they discovered that the subjects who were often bombarded with demands from their spouses were 300 percent more likely to develop heart problems than those whose partners were more laid-back.
The good news: People who were hassled by children and other family members only doubled their health risks; nagging neighbors and friends just raised a person’s risk of heart disease by 50 percent. (Hey, we meant it was good news comparatively speaking.)
And here’s the really interesting part: A wife who’s always on your back is more of a health risk than the one who argues and then let’s the issue drop. (Conflict with your partner increases your chances of heart disease by 44 percent. Again, it’s all relative.)
While you may be able to make up after a small fight, many people ignore the little demands and worries of a relationship, which can accumulate over time. The upshot: “Worries are connected with an unknown, feared future event, which has a greater impact on stress levels,” explains lead study author Rikke Lund M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the University of Copenhagen.
If you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your relationship, talk to your spouse about it instead of brushing it off, Lund says. Likewise, if you have a “nagging” suspicion that you’re too demanding, lighten up a little. It might catch up to you in the future.