Researchers from the universities of Bristol and Glasgow recently tracked changes in cardiovascular risk factors for 620 married fathers taking part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which began in 1991. They found that, when things are bad in relationships, men's health deteriorates—but when things are good, men's bad cholesterol levels and weight drops, and their good cholesterol and blood pressure improve. But, it's easier said than done to keep things peachy. Yes, the divorce rate is the lowest it’s been in almost 40 years—so let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. But, science still argues that it remains steady at 50 percent (though this figure is still heavily debated). To ensure your relationship doesn’t fall susceptible to the inferior statistic, we recommend you take a look at the following studies that suggest what may be making your wife unhappy. Photo: Getty Images/Oliver Rossi
1. You watch too much porn. A study from the University of Florida shows that when women think that their partners watch too much porn, it has a negative impact on their self esteem, as they feel inferior to the fantasies portrayed online. The researchers encourage open communication about what you want from your partner sexually. When this discussion is breached, researchers believe one’s proclivity for pornography will dissipate.
2. You don’t work enough. While the gender norm that a woman’s place in the kitchen has gradually dispersed (thankfully), the role of the husband as a breadwinner still remains strong, according to a study by Harvard University. A typical couple married after 1974 has a 2.5 percent chance of divorcing in the next year if the husband works full-time. However, if he works part-time or doesn’t work at all, those odds rise to 3.3 percent. The reason: Men are believed to be breaking a “central component” by not earning more than their wives and resentment from both parties eventually destroys the relationship.
3. You split the housework. In an unfortunate study titled “Equality in the Home,” researchers found that the divorce rate among couples rises a whopping 50 percent when the man shares housework duties compared to households where women do all of the chores. “What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” the co-author of the study says. “The figures clearly show that the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate.” This discrepancy all comes down to having clearly defined roles because, when such a structure is built, couples are less like to accuse the other of not pulling their own weight.
4. You perceive your partner as beneath yourself. “Contempt is the kiss of death,” cites research from the University of Washington and the University of California at Berkeley. Those who harbor this relationship-ending emotion (which is a veritable mix of anger and disgust) can predict divorce with 93 percent accuracy, it says. Feeling smarter than, better than or more sensitive than your partner makes you less likely to see his or her opinions as valid and far less willing to try to see a situation from his or her perspective, which is obviously a catalyst for conflict and ultimately divorce.
5. You drink more than your partner. The link between drinking habits and long-lasting marriages is jaw-dropping, according to a study from the Journals of Gerontology B: Psychology Sciences. After polling 2,767 couples who’d been married for an average of 33 years, researchers found that couples who equally indulged in or abstained from alcohol were happier in their relationships. The only group that ran into real trouble were those who had incompatible drinking habits in which one person would consistently stay sober while the other got tipsy. The women were significantly more dissatisfied in their relationships when they drank more than their husbands.
6. You’re not romantic enough. Apparently, being a hopeless romantic is a good thing. A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that people of the romantic mindset have greater relationship commitment and satisfaction than those who don’t. "People with romantic beliefs did have higher expectations, but they were also more likely to see their partner as meeting those expectations," researchers say.
7. You’re dirty. According to a study from UC Berkeley and on-demand cleaning service Handy, 15 percent of Americans have ended things with someone because of the way their house looked. The number one cause of the breakup (at almost 50 percent) is when the home didn't have any toilet paper in the bathroom, which is understandable. This is followed by dirty dishes/cups in the living room, no bathroom toiletries, dishes in the sink, an unmade bed and a heaping basket of laundry.
8. You don’t watch enough Netflix together. Research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that if couples who have few mutual friends engage in “shared media experiences” like Netflix, they have overall healthier relationships. Without an authentic social circle to chat with, couples can instead borrow fiction to fill that void.
9. You don’t make as much money as your partner. Female breadwinners—especially those who don't set out to earn the majority of their family's income—are less satisfied in their relationships, a survey by Working Mother Media discovered. A study published in the American Sociological Review adds that 15 percent of men who are financially dependent on their wives will cheat, compared to just five percent of women who would stray from a male breadwinner.
10. You spend too much time on your phone. A study published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that people who feel that their partners are overly dependent on their smartphones are less satisfied in their relationships. The results suggest that people get jealous of their partners' phones and the subsequent speculation of what it is they’re doing on them. Considering 20 percent of millennials are on their smartphones during sex, perhaps it’s best we put these devices down for a bit.