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How do you respond? Other researchers have found that when partners are separately asked to ponder aspects of their relationship, they spend much more time contemplating the bad than the good. Some of the people were already ambivalent or hostile toward their partners—and tended to get divorced quickly—but most couples showed lots of mutual affection and went on to celebrate several anniversaries. The successful marriages are defined not by improvement, but by avoiding decline.
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Those answers form a matrix used in a couplle study of how dating couples deal with problems. Over the long haul, though, those tender early feelings were not a reliable harbinger. Their relationships were among the strongest to begin with, but they fell apart rapidly.
Threaten to break up, or start looking for another partner. When Roy Baumeister, one of the authors of this piece, asks his students why they think they would be a good partner, they list positive loking being friendly, understanding, good in bed, loyal, smart, funny. But when you silently withdraw from your partner or issue angry threats, cun can start a disastrous spiral of retaliation.
They felt less close, less trustful, and less optimistic about the relationship. Some couples, of course, are better off splitting up, but far too many of them sabotage a relationship that could have worked.
The full, unromantic name is Processes of Adaptation in Intimate Relationships. Each time one of the partners did something negative— complaining, speaking in a hostile tone, rolling their eyes, denying responsibility, insulting the other—the action was classified and counted. Negativity hits marrried people especially hard, which is one reason that people who marry earlier in life are more likely to divorce than ones who delay marriage. But before revealing the truth, the experimenter asked more questions about the relationship, and acttive turned out that the deception had a big impact on some of the people: the ones already prone to insecurity.
The insecure people were reacting needlessly, because in reality they were valued by their partners just as much as the secure people were. These reactions were cataloged in a study of New York City couples who were videotaped in a lab at Columbia University as they discussed their problems.
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The other partners were given a much different task: listing all the things in their home. To test a theory, the psychologists Sandra Murray and John Holmes margied couples into a lab and gave them questionnaires to be filled out at fin arranged so that the partners sat with their backs to each other. People sensitive to rejection were especially likely to end up alone.
It was how they dealt with the negative stuff—their doubts, their frustrations, their problems—that predicted whether the marriage would survive.
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Perhaps your partner is a spendthrift, or flirts with your friends, or zones out in the fr of your stories. Insecure women worry less about sexual infidelity than about other kinds of rejection, and they tend to react with hostility rather than jealousy.
Their panicky response was to push away their partner—with unfortunate success, as the researchers found lookig following couples over several years. To protect themselves, they changed their own attitudes. The researchers, led by Geraldine Downey, found that insecure people were the ones most likely to act negatively. They assumed their partners would judge them acgive harshly as they judged themselves. Explain what bothers you and work out a compromise. This article is adapted from John Tierney and Roy F.
Your soul soars, your heart sings, and your brain is awash in oxytocin, dopamine, and other neurochemicals associated with love. They lowered their regard and affection for their partners. The ratings typically go downhill over time.
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Read: What does it mean to be ready for a relationship? Researchers who track couples have repeatedly been puzzled to see relationships destroyed even when there are no obvious causes. As a group, those who divorced had been a third more affectionate during the early years than the ones who went on to have long, happy marriages. In fact, though, the questionnaires were different. Another reason is that younger people tend to have less money, which means more stress.
These couples, in central Pennsylvania, were interviewed during their first two years of marriage by psychologists who cataloged both the positive and negative aspects of the relationships. Psychologists at the University of Kentucky identified two general strategies, constructive or destructive, each of cuople could be either passive or active. This may take more imagination.
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Imagine fjn are dating someone who does something that annoys you. They were more positive both in the way that they introduced a disagreement and in the way that they responded to criticism, and they remained more positive afterward. Head for the exit. This may not require a great deal of imagination. To get through the bad stuff, you need to stop the negative spiral before it begins.
Meanwhile, the other partners were sitting there with nothing to do but listen to the scribbling—and assume that it must be a thorough inventory of their personal failings.
The thrill of infatuation fades, so ative euphoria that initially bonded a couple cannot sustain them over the decades, but most couples find other sources of contentment and remain satisfied overall just not as satisfied as at the beginning. Say nothing, but emotionally withdraw from your partner. Sometimes, though, the decline in satisfaction is so steep that it dooms a marriage.
They could list as many traits as they wanted, but were told it was fine to name just one. Let it slide and hope things improve.
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Being able to hold your tongue rather than say something nasty or spiteful will do much more for your relationship than a good word or deed. Remaining passively loyal had no discernible impact on the course of the relationship; actively trying to work out a solution improved things only a little. They typically wrote down one or two things about their partners that were less than ideal, and then they put down their pens. Once they heard all that scribbling behind their backs, they feared their partners might reject them, and that fear took over.