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Who's More Stressful: Your Spouse or Your Boss?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Jobs are a big source of stress for many people. It's hard when you're trying to balance tight deadlines, a demanding boss, competition with co-workers, etc. So you'd assume that a good way to unwind after a tough day and might be to go home and spend some time with loved ones. According to a new poll, you might want to rethink that decision. Spouses can end up creating more anxiety than your boss at the office.

The poll, conducted by electronics and healthcare manufacturer Phillips, surveyed 3,000 British men and women. 58% said their spouse or partner was one of the people in their life that put them under pressure, but only 43% said the same about their boss. 18% of women (and 12% of men) said their spouse put them under "a lot" of pressure.

Why would home life be so stressful? I'm sure there are lots of reasons, but here are a few guesses: Your partner is likely the person you unload a lot of things on, including stress about your job, finances, family, and life in general. That can create more stress in the relationship, especially if you disagree about any of those things. And let's face it, no matter how compatible you are, you and your partner are never going to agree on everything.

It helps to have a support system at home that you can rely on when you need it. Talking about the issues you're facing and how your partner can help you deal with them will keep the lines of communication open and the stress level at a minimum.

The poll asked a number of questions about life and health. Another interesting result was that women were more concerned about their weight than their earnings. Almost half of those surveyed said their weight was very important to their health and wellbeing, compared to 27 percent who said that salary was their top priority. The difference wasn't as significant for men, since percent of men listed weight as an important issue to their health and wellbeing, while 33 percent said the same about their salary.

What do you think? Does your spouse/partner create more stress in your life than your employer?

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This has varied for me depending on current circumstances. Right now, it is my dh, who I discovered has had several binges of gambling (scratch off lottery tickets), taking out several more high interest loans in an attempt to cover the damage. Of course that makes the situation worse. I am about at wit's end. I finally got him to agree to start going to gamblers anonymous. I will be looking for a second job soon, so I can have a little more security, but it will not be easy to find one, and I feel tired already with the job that I have, which tends to be stressful. It isn't really so much my boss as it is the nature of the job itself. Normally, my partner is my best friend, the person in who I can confide, but clearly I cannot trust him with money anymore. I just had to vent in front of a bunch of strangers. Everyone have a nice day. Report
Good question! I place most of the stress on myself through my expectations of performance, both at home and at work. Hub/family and boss/coworkers definitely can add to it. Report
My "boss" is my my spouse. I am a stay-at-home mom/homemaker. That said, he doesn't "boss" me. ;-)
But her certainly can be a stressful spouse!
currently no spouse, so the winning default goes to the boss, haha. but actually, it's not him who give me the most stress, it's more to what my colleagues ask me to do. Sure, I know I can handle the tasks but there are days when I feel want to breakdown. Report
my hubby for sure . He will tell you i never worked . ha ha . yeah right . only every day washing cooking and taking care of him and the children. Report
hubs definitely, my boss is useless but i don't really have to deal with him in the flesh as he's never actually AT work. my husband and i on the other hand are currently walking 2 different paths and it is REALLY hard on both of us. Report
the job was, not the boss. i say 'was' cause i just left it, and my very supportive DH is now going to financially support me while I go back to school to start in a new direction.

some stress is good - but make your stress level tolerable - or make a change. Report
I agree with MIEZEKATZE. I mean, most of these people seem like they are talking about the normal, everyday stresses in marriage, but there's a few in here that seem like they have horrible spouses! If you're unhappy, do something about it! Don't let that person walk all over you and/or the kids like that! Some of these responses are just disheartening! Report
My spouse is more stressful. I know that at the end of the day my dealing with my boss will be on hold until tomorrow. I have a reprieve to try to regroup for the next day or even the option of getting a new boss. I marriage, sometimes there is no reprieve and when you are dealing with someone who always sees the glass as being half empty with a crack in it....well you get the point. Report
Depends on the day for me. Sometimes it's the boss. Sometimes it's my partner. Report
Since I don't work the only people who stress me out are my husband and son. Not all the time and not very much stress. Report
Bosses definitely. I took early retirement due to the stress at our company. my boss and his boss (the manager) were great but the ones the next few levels up were horrid. they created stress for our bosses which they had to pass along. nothing was ever done right and because they kept cutting the amount of help we had they expected more stuff done with less people. anyone that could quit or retire has done so in the last few years.
Hubby is great.. he worked for the same company but had a less stressful job he knew how much stress I was under so tried to help me as much as he could to relax when we got home.
He does tend to drive me crazy at times with little things but nearly as much as working did. Report
I create the stress for myself - the way I interpret things creates guilt, anxiety...the list goes on and on. However, I find that I create the stress around 2 key people: my mom, and my boss's boss. I've been working on minimizing this by realizing that I have control over my feelings and actions - they don't. Report
My boss is the biggest stressor . . my husband gives me support and helps keep my stress at a lower rate than it would normally be. I am blessed to have a husband who does not stress me!! :-} Thank the Lord for him!! Report
My husband and my boss are equally stress inducing. My husband has some redeeming qualities after all I did marry him. My boss... not so much. Report
I'm single, so you'd think it's my boss. We'll it's not. It's my co-workers! I've got probably one of the best bosses I've ever had, but a couple of my co-workers really, really get on that last nerve. Report
*I* am most definitely the cause of (as in, the one who opts to have) most of my own stress - how I choose to respond to life, what I choose to worry about, whose opinion I choose to value, how many tasks I choose to accept ... I'm the one who chose to marry my husband (great decision!) and also where to work and by extension my boss (which has also worked out pretty well by and large). Blaming either spouse or job for stress is counterproductive in my opinion. We can change either our situation or change our attitude towards our situation. Or decide to do neither. Admittedly it is nicer when the environment and people we're close to present only pleasant choices :) Report
My boss . . . no contest . . . my husband and I may have some disagreements, but the love we have for each other zeroes out any stress involved. Report
Husband, unless my boss is PMSing. Did I mention I'm self-employed? LOL Report
I'll be honest, I go to work to unwind after a long and stressful weekend.
I LOVE Mondays! Report
Really? Your spouse is more stressful. I guess that could be so - when its all said and done, you can walk away from a boss and a job, or simply just go home, but you can't walk away from your spouse (or at least it shouldn't be easy to) and your spouse is at home.

Andrew is now looking at me a little weird because I just got up and gave him a kiss and told him I am lucky to have him. Not only does he not cause stress for me, he provides the support structure that allows me to remain steady everywhere else in my life. Report
Im most cases, I'd say, it would be your husband who would stress you out. mine stresses me, more than any job, I ever had. lol. Report
My boss is great. My husband is a fulltime job. Report
My only 'boss' is my hubby...I'm retired! Report
It could be either depending on what kind of boss at work you may have!

I have had some awful bosses and work situations, but I got to go home at 5 and spend the weekends away from them. Plus I always was willing to quit a job and find something else once I had taken enough **** so escape was easy.

A marriage is something else. I Iive with hubby and usually spend a lot of my free time with him. And realistically, relationships take work and have some stress and conflict to work through. I know I get on hubby's nerves too sometimes.

So currently, hubby is a bigger stressor in my life. He is an anxious and sometimes agitated person and tends to "sweat the small stuff", IMHO. He can sometimes be quite demanding and gets frustrated when I don't jump into the fray with him. I am strong willed so I don't cave in easily, plus I definitely tend to adjust more easily and let things go more quickly. But we are committed to putting up with each other!

As Tina Turner sang, "What's love got to do with it?"
I love my husband dearly and he is wonderful, but he can be very stressful sometimes. I think even the good things in life can add stress to an extent.
My boss, her boss and her boss!!! My husband is the calm in the storm! Report
Spouse, he can be a royal pain. Been married for 34 years this August and sometimes I wonder why. LOL. My boss is in Plantation FL and I have NEVER met her, I work in Columbus, MS. All our contact is via email or phone. NICE. Report
I've been married to a wonderful, supportive, loving man for over 25 years, but I have to admit that, at times, he is the biggest source of stress in my life. I wouldn't trade him for anything, though. Report
Neither spouse or boss. It would be my kids! Report
Neither - try the inlaws! Report
My spouse. While the boss is demanding, I know what the expectations are. With my husband - not so. Also- even after 2 years of being back at work (after taking 7 years off to get our son going in the right direction), nothing changed at home. Even though I work, I am still expected to clean, shop, laundry etc etc etc. Report
Oh my goodness, this isn't even a question. I really like my boss, but sorry, work is stressful! I'm lucky to come home to a partner (unmarried but living together coming up on five years) who can easily absorb my crazy.

If he were as neurotic as me, well, it'd probably be another story -- but part of the reason we work so well is that even though I'm a little nuts, he handles it with love and support. I would hope he doesn't think I cause him more stress than his boss. Report
I thought for many years that it was my DH who caused me most stress. But for several years I was working for an employer who was stress personified. Fortunately, he wasn't around all the time - which let all of us get on with our jobs fairly enjoyably. But when he was around - stress to the nth degree, which made my homelife seem blissful.
I was made redundant, eventually, and have now come to terms with that, with my family and with my DH. Sometimes I think it's been too late in the day to salvage much, family-wise - but then I get together with my sons and things are better than they were.
DH is now looking to take early retirement, which will be stressful again - but still better than the excess external stress from employment. Report
Spouse. He is a wonderful husband, but he expects perfection. Nothing is ever good enough Report
my spouse. he's retired and wants me to do it all even though i work full time. Report
having neither - I have 0% due to these factors Report
As someone who is self-employed, my boss causes me considerably more stress than my wife. Report
My employer was more distressing than my spouse. My employer demanded 110% effort and then reminded me that they could get rid of me any time they desired to do so. I cannot imagine my husband treating me like that. By the way, my employer did get rid of me. Report
I'm thinking I'm in the minority here. I get zero stress from my boss and zero stress from my husband. Lucky me! Report
Kind of a silly question to me. If you have a spouse, 9 times out of 10 he or she is going to be the main stressor. Think about it. You're continually building one life out of 2; stress is a natural byproduct. You can leave a job at the end of your shift. Your relationship with your spouse is 24/7 and comprises every area of your life. I'm married to a wonderful, supportive man, and we have a loving, solid relationship. He's my rock and foundation, and I do everything I can to be his, but marriage takes work. Also, I doubt many of the negative comments are meant to be "husband bashing"; just people being honest. Report
Spouse...if I had a boss like this I would've left long ago and gotten over it. Report
I have three bosses for one job.... sure that can make for a stressful situation especially when the 3 bosses don't talk to each other. But I don't think that any of my bosses are THAT stressful. I am currently in a long distance relationship and there again it is the situation that can get stressful not the person. My boyfriend is absolutely wonderful, I just wish we could see each other more often.

I have come to realize that I bring on most of the stress myself. I always feel like I need to be doing more. I have a full time job, I am a volunteer fire fighter (structure & wildland) where I have also taken on some officer duties, I volunteer for another organization & on their finance committee. My family is very close and we get together often. I try to be an active member on SP and help people out where I can. And the list goes on and on.

This is what sometimes gets me overwhelmed. Report
I guess I should consider myself blessed. I've been married for 45 to my wonderful hubby. We are together 24/7, no stress here. I'm retired, no more bosses. Life is good! Report
WHEN YOU ARE TEATHERED TO SOMEONE, TRYING TO EXTRICATE YOURSELF FROM A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP WHICH INVOLVES LEGAL ISSUES, CHILDREN, PROPERTY ETC. NOT TO MENTION THE EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT is nothing like giving up your job. you are not personally involved the same way with 'a boss'. you can find another job - but it is not so easy to start life again. when there is verbal & emotional abuse, harrassment or physical abuse at a job- you certainly have recourse - not always the case with a spouse. there is just no comparison = you leave your job at the end of the day - and get a break from a demanding boss - not so with the spouse. the destructive influences color every one in the household. at work, you can form committees, complain to the labour dept., or QUIT right then and there . no there is no question in my mind. BB Report
How sad to see so many people responding that their spouse/s.o. is the cause of their stress! I admit that my bf stresses me out from time to time, but that's pretty commonplace. Some of you sound like you need to kick your hubbie to the curb! Report
I'll go against the grain here - my boss is definitely the most stressful person in my life. I'm on pins and needles from the second I walk in the door until I walk back out at the end of the day. I try to decompress in the car on the way home with some good music so that I can fully enjoy my time at home even more. Report
I am a stay at home Mom so I don't have a boss to compare my husband with. Sure my husband stresses me out at times but I'm sure I stress him out too. Nobody is perfect and we forgive one another. It saddens me to see the "husband bashing" that seems to be prevalent in response to this question. Report
I am not working outside of the home. My husband causes me alot of stress. Report
I'm single right now but any time I do have partner - whether it's a live in boyfriend or just a casual relationship - you better believe they are not a source of stress! my boss on the other hand is an incredible source of stress. i've had bosses in the past who have been amazing and the opposite of stressful though. so i guess it depends on the situation...
i definitely see the stress placed on me at work as unhealthy stress so in the future i'm going to do what i can to avoid workplaces like the one i currently work in. Report
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