Looking at sadness, worry and frustration - among the most common negative emotions reported by older adults - the researchers discovered that men and women in long-term marriages deal with marriage difficulties differently.

"The men do not really want to talk about it or spend too much time thinking about it," said Deborah Carr, professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, US.

In the study, 722 couples, married an average of 39 years, were asked how their marital experience - and the reactions of their spouse - affected them.

While talking about issues and offering support makes the wives - who traditionally feel responsible for sustaining the emotional climate of a marriage -- feel good, this only frustrated the husbands surveyed.

The husbands in the study - who more often rated their marriages positively and reported significantly higher levels of emotional support and lower levels of marital strain than their wives - felt frustrated giving as well as receiving support.

The study was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.


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