Living with a partner who doesn’t listen could shorten your life, according to researchers.

People whose partners are less attentive appear to struggle to manage their daily stress and emotions over the long term, a study has found.

The build-up of stress could be enough to make them up to 42 per cent more likely to die prematurely, shares Daily Mail.

Chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide – according to the American Psychological Association.

A team of psychologists at the University of Edinburgh assessed a group of around 1,200 people aged 25 to 74 who had a spouse or lived with their partner.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Stanton said: ‘The results suggest that if people have someone they can turn to – and whom they think supports them – then it can help them deal with the stresses of everyday living.

‘This has downstream associations with later health outcomes.’

Participants were assessed over a 20-year period starting between 1995 and 1996 as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS).

They were asked to rate how much they thought their partner understood, cared about and appreciated them.

After 10 years, in 2006, participants responded to the same questions.
They also filled out reports over an eight-day period, recording any daily stressful events – such as problems at home or work – and their emotions in response.

They reported when they felt negative emotions such as fear, hopelessness, frustration and anxiety, and positive emotions such as cheerfulness, calm, satisfaction or pride.

Researchers found that people who didn’t respond well to every day stress were the ones who felt their partner had become less caring over the past 10 years.

And they found people who reported their partner had become less responsive ended up with a 42 per cent higher risk of dying within 20 years of the study.

The scientists said this link could be explained by those people’s reduced ability to deal with negative emotions caused by daily stress, possibly because their partner was unable to lend an ear.

Although the findings, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, were described by the team as small, they may have an impact when put into a bigger picture.

Is this one of your biggest problems with your partner?

Share your comments below

  • I did have to giggle to myself when reading this one. My partner and I often claim “You never listen to me!” I was totally unaware of the stress this causes and the possible ensuing diseases possibly bought on by stress


  • Of course we all have moment we have little space to listen because our minds our full and distracted. But overall my husband and I both make an effort to listen and share.


  • I would share this with my husband but he wouldn’t pay any attention to it at all. He is who this was written for


  • If the partner yells all the time and you are not the only people in the house you tend to switch off. Those people usually mention the person’s name afterwards instead of the beginning. I know a Mum often from a room at or near the other end of the house. One day she called my name, I knew where she was so I headed in her direction. She said not to worry that she would yell out. I told her not to yell at me. It gives me flash backs of my late Dad doing that to my sister and I when we were kids. That often wasn’t the only punishment we got.


  • I’m quite certain my husband doesn’t listen at least 80% of the time.


  • My husband needs to read this article. I wonder if he would listen though! :-)


  • I think this is a pretty typical complaint from many women?


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