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Your Bad Marriage Might Be Killing You

The success of your marriage is a big factor in your health - and research shows an unhappy relationship could lead to an earlier death.

The health of your marriage is a big factor in the health of you, particularly if you're a man, according to a recent study and a Texas cardiologist.

The study from Tel Aviv University linked men's satisfaction with their marriage to their health outcomes - and surprisingly, an unhappy marriage was associated with higher risks of stroke and death from other causes.

Researchers followed a group of about 9,000 Israeli civil servants over 32 years and tracked their blood pressure, while asking questions about diet and rating their satisfaction with marriage on a scale of 1 to 4.

The less happily married men tracked in the study tended to die earlier - and researchers say the pattern was as noticeable as the effect of smoking on lifespan.

Yikes. So should you never get married? Is it time to hightail it from Hinge, butt out of Bumble or take off from Tinder?

Maybe not - other studies have shown that marriage (presumably a good, healthy one) can have health benefits too, says Dr. Fahmi Farah, a cardiologist at Bentley Heart Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

On the flipside of an unhappy marriage, other studies have shown a good marriage can have positive health effects, says Farah.

"It's not just marriage, it's... how happy you are, how stressed you are," says Farah. "In a married relationship that's positive, people usually encourage each other."

What does that encouragement look like? It's reminders to take crucial medications - or enforce a doctor's orders to follow a heart-healthy diet.

In a bad marriage "that aspect is usually missing," Farah adds.

"Relationships are very dear to our heart. This is the one thing where if it's not going well, it gets us down more than anything else, just because we're emotionally attached to this more than anything else."

There's even a known medical condition referred to as the broken heart syndrome, which can happen in a stressful situation like divorce.

"People typically show up to the emergency department with signs of a heart attack if they have this condition," says Farah.