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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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My DH is my best friend and my biggest supportor. He knows ALL of my faults and loves me just as I am. Not that we don't disagree from time to time. This study seems to lack more information then it delivers. We live with our spouses 24/7, more time=more opportunities for stress. Report
You can quit a job ... husbands not so easily. Mine is big time stressor!! Report
I see a lot of comments here saying that the DH is the big stressor. While I realize it is not a perfect sample (perhaps the happy with their DH folks don't reply) it is concerning. I would agree, my DH is the bigger stressor. Is that bad? Is that normal and expected? Should we all become more assertive and stand up to this stress or at most dramatic case be kicking out the DHs? Report
I'm single, therefore I cannot answer the question as it stands at this time, in my life. In the past my ex was definitely more stressful at times, however, I don't think it's a comparison as I was living in a home filled with many issues including domestic violence. That's the kicker - where is the perspective in this poll? Did they poll only those in solid relationships? It doesn't appear they explored reasons for the results, just accepted the results - wonder if they will look further into this area. I didn't read that women say weight is more important than salary - it was compared to cancer and cholesterol; men were the ones that stated they felt weight was important to wellbeing over salary.

"Women were also twice as likely to worry about the effect of obesity on their future health than the impact of high cholesterol or even cancer. Just 36 per cent of men thought their weight was very important to their health and wellbeing, while 33 per cent said it had more to do with wages. "

I would want to know more about the poll before drawing any conclusions from it.

My spouse is hands down the most stressful person in my life. He's critical, and unsupportive, and doesn't like change. I am one of the minority that can say I actually love my job, and my boss is awesome! Report
My husband definitely stresses me WAY more than work. He is very critical, never happy, and holds me and his kids to higher standards than he holds himself. He has no control over his temper or his tongue. I go to work to get away. Report
Both boss & DH add stress but latter far more regularly. DH is rigid & critical. He also has his own stress which he passes on to me. I workout & spark to relieve my stress and have been encouraging him to exercise to relieve daily pressures from driving all day. See he's been walking & biking so we are working it out. I also agreed to have dinner ready by 6 to help with his stress as he's starving when he arrives & I work full time from home. It's a work in progress. Figure if he's not ad stressed than it's also a win for me! Report
No contest husband al the way. Report
Missvalerie, I couldn't have said it better myself, except my daughter is 18 and can't be in our home anymore because of the stress she causes.

Good for you to all the Sparkpeople with spouses that make them laugh like mine does. It's a great stress reliever! Report
I must be a very lucky lady. My wonderful husband does not contribute to any stress. He is my rock and helps me get through all the stress and anger I feel when I get home from work. Now if we could get our 21 year old daughter to "grow" up and act like a human being the only stress I would have would be from the boss and his split personality. Report
My husband definitely contributes to my stress level more than my boss. However, I look at my job as just that - a JOB. I don't take it home, and I know the work is always there. However, at home I have a blended family: three younger kids belong to him; the oldest is mine. Plus, they are ALL TEENAGERS. He and I argue more about how to raise the kids than anything else (money, sex, etc.). I am in marriage heaven right now, b/c the three youngest are away at summer camp for a MONTH!! And the oldest is 19, working full-time, and spending the rest of her time with her bf. So I am in bliss with DH, and we are enjoying every minute of our time before the kids come home! Report
Of all the bosses I have had, the spouse was the biggest stress in my life. We worked in the same place and also car pooled together so I had to listen to him nag all the way to and from work besides. He'd make big purchases and then blame me for over spending when the bills came due. Often very loudly and at work. Finally ended the marriage when our son grew up and I felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. Bosses can be a stress but nothing like him. Report
"For richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health". That's the contract between spouses. Stress is a fact of life, therefore if this article is 'saying' not to debrief over work, then I don't agree. There's a Chicago song, "Get Over It". Seriously, when this world is in such an upheaval where our very lives are at stake and we need to worry whether or not we stress our spouse or significant others? We may as well live alone. Report
Definitely my spouse too. I have a stressfull job, as a SPED teacher's aid. However, my boss is great, and I leave the job stress at school. My spouse does very little housework, and creates about the same amount of mess as our two kids do. He knows how I feel about this and is trying to be more helpful. He is a packrat, and has a very hard time getting rid of possesions. He thinks we should "Ebay" everything to make $ which is his other obession. He is VERY frugual too. However, if you look beyond that, he is a good guy trying to raise a family and stay married! Report
Wow I thought I would be in the minority but seeing a lot of these comments makes me feel less alone. My husband definitely stresses me out way more than my boss. Spends too much money on cigarettes (now 9.00 a pack in NY!!!), beer and golf. No interest in being fit and healthy. Tense relationship with our 9 year old daughter. Not a good situation right now. He was out of work for 10 months and finally got his old job back in April-still trying to catch up financially. Thank goodness I am a saver-our savings kept us from losing our home. But now we are down to nothing and trying to build back up. I credit exercising and eating healthy with helping to keep me strong and sane through all of it. Report
Being new to my school and grade this past year, I didn't always know what was expected of me and I often felt stressed when I felt like my boss didn't give me a 'heads-up' on things that I was expected to know/do. But that was probably MY perception! My husband is VERY specific--very neat and organized and has no problem making himself very clear on what he wants. It's the eye roll and the deep sigh that stresses me out! My response was to turn inward and regain 10 pounds. I'm taking ME back this summer.... Report
For me, the spouse has always been the most stress-inducing person in my life. I agree with WHEREDIDIGO3's comment. I spent most of my time being the buffer between my daughters and him. Right now, things are extremely stressful because I finally reached my breaking point and moved out. And things will soon get worse before they start to get any better. Report
I have neither so I don't have to worry. Report
I most definitely think my SO causes me the most stress. Trying to get him to do more around the house because he stays home with the kids, is hard. It is tough coming home to another full time job. But, then again, my boss can be a big source of stress when you never know what mood my boss will be in. Report
Boss stress had more immediacy.
Spouse stress more permanancy Report
Would have to say I am pretty boss is rarely around enough to cause me stress and my spouse is nothing but supportive..He, in fact, is the calming influence on me :-) Report
My spouse DEFINITELY stresses me out more than my boss. He is a very "high stress" person and I spend much of my time tip-toeing around and trying to tell the kids when IS and IS NOT a good time to talk to Dad............ Report
I have an awesome boss, ME! And my husband couldn't be more helpful and supportive. He works a full time job and spends his spare time helping me in my business. I'm too blessed to be stressed. Report
I'm curious. What percent of men listed weight as an important issue to their health and wellbeing?

As for boss or spouse, for me that really varies from year to year and boss to boss. Report
As I'm about to "not" have a boss shortly - the "boss" scenario is much more of a stressor - spouse is currently living at another residence for now (no, it 's not a marital split - he's clearing out the house he inherited last year and that's taking a long time to complete, and I'm cleaning up/decluttering the current family abode) - I've noticed that the family is getting along better these days (you know the old sayings of "familiarity breeding contempt" and "absence making the heart grow fonder")..... Report
My immediate supervisor was awesome so did not cause me stress at all but he recently quit and moved on to greener pastures. Lol I am hoping and praying that we will get someone as equally laid back and knowledgable for the next supervisor. We may find out this week.
So my husband is the bigger source of stress for me but mainly because of his short temper sometimes and because he doesn't take an interest in the bills, just leaves them all to me to pay-with both of our money at least, but sometimes will make big purchases without checking with me first then it's huge STRESS for me to refigure the bills and figure out if we even have the money to cover the purchase he just made. Report
I definitely agree with the author. Stress caused by spouses can't be left at the office and need to be addressed. Health issues and money issues are the most stressful in a marriage. You can find another job (hopefully) but spouses take more of a toll physically and mentally. Report
I don't work outside of the home because stress was causing my depression to be worse. My husband is causing me alot of stress because of his hurtful comments about alot of stuff. I noticed that he complains about me doing many of the same things he does all the time. Its ok for him but not for me. So unfair!! I have been married to him 30 yrs and so am used to it but its still stressful sometimes. Report
My romantic partner hasn't the faintest idea how much he hurts my feelings sometimes with what he says and does. I haven't got the faintest idea how to tell him this without sounding like I am overreacting - this isn't because of HIM, but due to past really bad relationships, though. Report
Well, my husband is one of my best friends, and a wonderful, supportive man. But he's also the one that knows all the buttons to push. So, on the infrequent occasions when he _does_ create stress for me, he creates much more stress than my boss ever could. (and my husband has had some health scares in the past couple years, so, though he didn't _create_ that stress, it did cause me much more stress than my boss' health would.) Report
My husband is also my boss (we run 2 businesses together). However, I have a lot more stress while at work than when we are home. We try to leave "work" at work, but some of it comes home with us. Since we both experience a similar work day, I think that helps us relate to one another and deal with different situations. I get along with my husband very well and we have worked together from the time we started dating over 10 years ago. This doesn't work for everyone, but it does for us. Report
Definitely work. I get frustrated with DH, but overall, he's the best, really. Work, ack. I'm desperately trying to change jobs it's so bad. I'm miserable. We had a major change in many upper management positions and it's made life nearer to the bottom awful. They tell you how great you are, buy the dayshift food treats, and constantly make changes - many at a time - which is stressful, and talk down to us like they are raising children. The changes would be more acceptable if they were not so fast, we can't adapt to so many so fast. I think their idea, since some came from the same previous facility, is to make us match that facility in every way as quickly as possible. No real notice about what's good about us, those things must be changed as well. I don't think my job focuses on what it should anymore, and I can barely stand to go to work. I'd love to walk out it's so bad, and I tough out most things very well. I'm doing all I can to wait until I find a new job. I go to sleep stressed and wake up stressed from work. I can't tell you how awful that feels. You prayers pray for a change for me SOON! Report
I definitely get more stress from my spouse. Probably part of the reason is that at work the boss/employee relationship is usually pretty well defined. It's harder to have that set in a marriage. Report
Before retirerment,I had two bosses.the higher one was of the idea he was better then all under him.Which he tried to put people down with his being over all of them.The other didnt know the job ,so to follow his orders ,it was done wrong ,and you got blame,or if you did it the right way you didnt follow his orders.You got blame,so either way one was in trouble .So too ,some I had to so called work with,did not do their part and as I call it brown nosed ,so not to have to do work.So all in all ,I liked the job itself,just had no use for the people.Why I liked jobs I worked alone and only seen boss to know were the job would be,and go do it.So yeb stress ,on job .bosses ?,would be my stress back then.So too people who say the best job is one you like,well it depends on who is over you. And who you have to work with. Such is life ,and why I did best too laugh things off ,so to unstress the bull. Which at times is not easy,like living life can be as the rose.Lovily but can stick you if not carefull.Life goes on thou and one can make do if you want too. Report
This is kinda depressing. I think of a spouse as somebody who helps you navigate stress, a shelter! I don't have a husband, but I'm in a long-term relationship. I seek every moment to be a help to him, aiding in his needs and forgiving his shortcomings. I also have to learn how to accept help! But if I failed in doing that, I hope he would tell me. And if he stopped supporting me, you can bet we'd be having a big talk. Then it would be stressful, lol! But I just see no need for tolerating somebody who makes your life harder. (Obviously it's different when you have decades behind you or children to care for).

And it's difficult sometimes, trying to love selflessly. But it shouldn't be -stressful- Report
Since I'm currently unemployed, my husband defaults as my biggest stressor. :)

For him though, it varies. His current work environment is extremely stressful, but I'm sometimes not much of a help when he comes home and just wants to relax... Report
my husband, is THE ONLY and MOST stressful part of my entire life! Report
I would absolutely vote that my spouse causes me greater anxiety than my boss. Perhaps partly because when at home, I want to relax and am expecting to be able to do what I want; when my spouse prevents that, it causes a lot of tension, fighting....

When at work, I'm expecting to be a bit stressed so I am often pleasantly surprised by how "easy" my nurse manager is. Report
Neither - I don't have a husband and I don't have a boss as I am retired. Report
Well neither cause me much stress. But probably my spouse because I am around him more often. And my boss is an extremely loveable pastor, so I'm pretty lucky! Report
I have no idea why I've stayed married for over 24 years.
My husband is a HUGE source of stress for me. Report
Since my husband's accident 9 years ago, he has definitely become the biggest stressor in my life. NOT because he's demanding, but because his physical limitations require more of my physical time; and his overall health takes so much away from my mental time/health.

He's is totally supportive of all my efforts to improve my overall health, my job, and all my other interests. He doesn't ask or demand anything of my that I don't put on myself. In that respect I am truly blessed. Report
Overwhelming, it is my BOSS. She is a terror to my peers too. I thank God for my hubby as He has been my support for 37 years now. He makes my life easier and he prays for me daily to deal with my boss. I am taking another job in Germany largely due to her. Report
great job and great husband. i guess i am blessed. Report
I left a job after three weeks because the boss was verbally abusive, I was tense and jumpy all of the time, and I couldn't see the situation getting any better. I did make sure i had another job to go to first, though. Unemployment is more stressful than a rotten boss.

Yes, my family causes some stress--more when there isn't enough money (see above comment). Report
Neither one stresses me at all. My husband is great and I work for a wonderful "boss". Report
Ha ! My BOSS is the biggest source of stress in my life. I have never seen anyone who enjoys micromanaging as much as this guy. Here's a man who can turn a simple one hour task into an all day project. I don't have these problems with guys I've dated. they're a lot less stress ! LOL ! Report
Yes, of course, my husband causes much more stress than any boss. Report
I'm lucky in the fact that my husband is exceptionally supportive of my goals, both fitness and career related. We have a equal partnership and work hard to ensure we communicate with each other. My career does cause stress - trying to manage the demands of a team of unique indivdiuals is not easy. It's interesting that the article focusses on job stress inflicted by your boss...managing people isn't easy either. Report
My job is more stressful... hands down. I have a great boss, but, the workload and deadlines can be super hectic! It's nice to come home at the end of the day and see my incredible, awesome husband though. No stress, whatsoever from him. Report
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