If you give your SO the silent treatment on the regular, watch your back — literally.
According to a new study conducted out of the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University, the habit of “stonewalling” in your relationship (think silent treatment and passive aggressiveness) can lead to muscle tension, stiffness and a bad back over time.
Additionally, regular rage and frustration in your relationship can lead to high blood pressure down the road, and men seem more susceptible to developing these conditions than women.
I know, I know. You’re thinking about that fight you had with your girlfriend last night over emptying your dishwasher and want to know about the science behind this, so let’s take a closer look.
Researchers tracked couples over a 20-year period. Every five years, they would check in with each couple and videotape them as they talked about events in their lives. What did they enjoy doing? What did they disagree on?
Then, behavioral coders took closer looks at the couples’ facial expressions and body language to determine if they were in the habit of stonewalling or had regular rage and frustration. From there, researchers compared these behaviors to the couples’ health over time.
Senior study author Robert Levenson explained,
Our findings reveal a new level of precision in how emotions are linked to health, and how our behaviors over time can predict the development of negative health outcomes.
While it would be great if we could all just get along and never have any health problems, fighting isn’tallbad.
In fact, a big fight once in a while can actually strengthen your relationship, keep you healthy by allowing you to let out your anger and even lead to better sex.
The main takeaway? You can fight with your SO, just don’t submit to bouts of rage and stonewalling on the regular.