Husbands More Frustrated When They Give, Receive Support
Married men and married women apparently view emotional support from each other very differently. Women see it as a largely positive experience while men are more likely to become frustrated by the experience of both providing emotional support to their wives and receiving it from them.
That's the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences.
To conduct their study, researchers from Rutgers University surveyed 772 couples who had been married for an average of 39 years. Each participant was asked about their marital quality and how their spouse's reactions to any problems affected them.
Overall, husbands reported a higher marital quality, lower levels of marital strain and said they received high levels of emotional support than wives. In couples where both acknowledged marital strain, wives reported greater feelings of sadness and worry, though those negative feelings were reduced when they received emotional support from their husbands. But while husbands reported less sadness and worry, they said they had greater feelings of frustration when they had to give and receive emotional support.
The researchers suggested that older men may feel frustrated receiving lots of support from their wife, especially if it makes them feel helpless or less competent. In general, they don't like to express vulnerable emotions, while women are more comfortable expressing sadness or worry.
The team says their findings are important in that they reflect challenges long-married couples may face as they age together, particularly when it comes to dealing with health problems.