Had a stressful day? Don't bother trying to be nice at home


Doing helpful things for your other half when you've had a bad day may be damaging your relationship a study suggests.

Usually making little sacrifices like taking the bins out or doing the washing up are good for your relationship, however research says that doing these things when you're stressed will lead to resentment and a lack of commitment.

The University of Arizona studied both married and unmarried couples whose relationships varied from six months to 44 years.

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Each person was asked to fill out a daily survey to indicate daily sacrifices they made for their partner. Sacrifices were doing little things taking on more childcare, household tasks and spending time with the other person's friends.

They were also asked to rank how committed and close they felt to their partner, and how satisfied they with their relationship.

The research found that on days when people were feeling positive and not stressed, doing these little tasks made them feel happier in their relationships.

Whereas on days when things were stressful, it was seen as one more thing on their plate and irritating.

'You need to be mindful of the resources that you have to do those sacrifices at the end of the day,' said lead researcher Casey Totenhagen. 'Maybe trying to pile on more sacrifices at the end of a really stressful day isn't the best time.'

[Related: The best foods for beating stress]

Especially as the study found that on those stressful days when people went out of their way to do nice things – their partners didn't even notice. Wut oh.

The work is to further support existing research that people aren't good at compartmentalising different parts of their lives – work and home life stresses often spill in to one another.

'It's really important that couples work on coping with those daily stressors as they occur, before they have a chance to build up,' said Totenhagen.

'Even if I had stressful experiences that didn't involve my partner, it can still impact my partner, so it might be beneficial for us to work on those together.'

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