How much hostility can you withhold? Is the tension getting stronger and the disagreeing getting longer in your relationship? Break up with him! Ending a relationship with a partner can be very difficult but with time, you will get better. You will find yourself thriving without that significant other that was holding you back. Don’t let that partner slowly degrade your mental and physical health! 

Reaserchers found that greater levels of hostility within a relationship caused wounds to heal slower than those in less hostile relationships (1). Can you believe that your negative partner can affect the way your body heals! The conflict does good for no one. The more frequent you have stress within your relationship, the greater the implications it will have on your health. It is known to create issues with cardiovascular diseases, diabeties, cancers, and not to mention the toll stressers can have on ones mental health (1). More frequent stress within a relationship can throw off the autonomic system which is a predictor of cardiovascular issues and can increase in inflammation levels (2). Inflammation throughout the body can be very dangerous and will only increase as stress enhances. Inflammation is mainly associated with depressive symptoms. Depression can have long lasting effects on the individual which creates a bidirectional relationship (2). One won’t get better without the other improving. So moral of the story here, if your unhappy with your toxic relationship…. Dump him/her! They’re not worth it! 

Not only can a unhappy marriage effect the mind but it can also effect the immune system. Scientists discovered that the immune system is a main communication pathway between the brain and the gut. A bad marriage can create unhealthy mircobomes in the gut leading to further health problems. Kiecolt-Glaser found that health habits are contagious within couples. Thus bad marriages can potentially equal bad gut and other bad health outcomes such as athma, allergies, hypertension and other congitive functions (2). It just keeps getting worse! 

Recognizing these low quality marriage signs and health outcomes is essential when trying to live your best life! Researchers Bourassa et al. found that women who had low quality relationships and got divorced has much higher levels of life satisfication than women who had low quality marriages and stayed (3). This shows how harmful a bad marriage can be in many aspects. Don’t let your stuck relationship ruin your quality of life! Get rid of your mans! Find yourself and find your health. You only have one life to live! 

References: 

  1. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. (2005). Hostile marital interactions, proinflammatory cytocine production, and wound healing. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 1377-1384.
  2. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2018). Marriage, divorce, and the immune system. American Psychologist, 73(9), 1098–1108. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000388 
  3. Bourassa, K. J., Sbarra, D. A., & Whisman, M. A. (2015). Women in very low quality marriages gain life satisfaction following divorce. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 490–499. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000075

3 Replies to “Why Horrible Marriages Make Me Sick

  1. I think it’s really interesting to see that an unsatisfied marriage or relationship is actually detrimental to someone’s physical and mental health. It’s very important for people who are currently in such a relationship to know this information. Sadly, even with the knowledge of the mental drawbacks of being in an unhappy relationship, people sometimes can not (subjectively) get out because they don’t see any alternatives.

  2. I appreciate that you expanded on the impact of relationship stress on health. Although the research is specific to couples, I am curious how our relationship with friends and professors in an academic setting might similarly impact our cardiovascular and gut health. I always seem to get sick right when midterms hit! It would be interesting to explore whether the stress and uncertainty that first-year college students face when making new friends impact their health similarly to couples, whose autonomic systems can be thrown off as a result of stress. Overall, it seems that stress across relationships can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. I’m glad that you point out that, sometimes, the relationship isn’t worth the price it costs your body!

  3. I thought the point you included about health habits between couples being contagious was very interesting, as it really aptly captures how marriage is a partnership, and how it helps to shape the self. In shaping the self physically and mentally in negative, harmful ways, however, I wondered if there’s a threshold point at which leaving your partner is not enough to undo the effects that the relationship had on body and mind. What options are available for those who might be “too far gone”? Does a bad marriage impact partners disproportionately, perhaps on the basis of gender? There are lots of intriguing ways to take this research further.

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