If Your Husband Is This Much Older Than You, Your Health May Be at Risk

That age disparity between you and your partner could be more of a detriment than you think.

Whether you're an introvert married to an extrovert or you and your partner don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics, all couples have their differences. However, according to a new study, if you and your partner have a particular age gap, it could prove detrimental to your health in the long run.

According to a new study published in the March-April 2021 edition of Health Gazette, in Spanish couples between ages 65 and 81 studied, women whose husbands were six or more years older than them had a higher probability of having health problems than couples with any other age disparity. Among women whose partners were six or more years older than them, the probability of having poor health was 65 percent, whereas among those with a male partner between three and five years older, the probability of having poor health was 57 percent. Among men with female partners who were six or more years older, the probability of poor health was just 49 percent; among those whose female partners were three to five years older, the probability of poor health was 50 percent.

However, age isn't the sole factor that researchers found to be significant predictor of poor health among women. In particular, having an older husband with health issues "penalizes women's health," the study's authors explained, often due to the care the younger wives studied provided their spouses. The women in the study whose male partners were in poor health had a 72 percent probability of being in poor health themselves. "Conversely, the additional workload is lower for husbands when their wife's health is poor because men tend to share this burden with other, mainly female family members, particularly daughters or daughters-in-law," the study's authors noted. That's not the only way your partner could be having a significant effect on your health, though; read on to discover which other traits in your partner could be affecting your wellbeing. And if you want to make sure your relationship remains on steady footing, If You're Having This Argument, See a Couples Therapist, Experts Say.

Your partner's mental health may affect your pain level.

Woman suffering back pain

While your partner's mental health isn't necessarily something they have control over, it can affect not only their physical wellbeing, but yours. According to a 2016 study published in PLOS Medicine, individuals whose partners had depression were more likely to suffer chronic pain than those without depressive symptoms. And for the latest relationship news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

You might become overweight if your partner is.

Woman stepping on scale to check weight

If your partner is overweight or obese, chances are high that you may end up struggling with your weight, too. According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in PLOS One, individuals with an obese spouse have a 40 percent chance of becoming obese themselves. And for some relationship red flags to watch out for, If Your Partner Is Asking You This One Question, They Could Be Cheating.

But they may increase your chances of hitting the gym.

white woman and white man giving each other a high five by the weights at the gym

While you may adopt your partner's unhealthy eating habits, chances are you might take on some of their healthy behaviors, too. In 2015, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that when women met the recommended weekly requirements for exercise as outlined by the American Heart Association, their husbands were 70 percent more likely to as well when compared to less active couples.

They may help you survive serious disease.

older white women couple walking and smiling outside

Your partner may feel like a lifesaver on a daily basis, but being happily coupled may actually keep you alive for longer, too. A 2012 study published in the journal Health Psychology found that individuals in satisfying marriages were 2.5 times as likely to still be alive 15 years after heart surgery than their single counterparts. And if you want to know if your relationship is over, If You and Your Partner Can't Agree on This, It's Time to Break Up.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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