People who make sacrifices in their relationship because they want to are more satisfied, research finds.
Those who make sacrifices because they feel pressured into it are less satisfied.
The difference could help to explain why some relationships work, and others don’t.
Sometimes couples appear to be working well together, but underneath the story is different.
Dr Heather Patrick, the study’s first author, said:
“It’s important to understand what makes positive relationships positive and what might undermine positive experiences.”
The conclusions come from a study in which 266 men and women documented their own and their partner’s pro-relationship behaviours for two weeks.
Pro-relationship behaviours are any sacrifices made out of consideration for the other person.
Partners who carried out more of these selfless behaviours because they wanted to felt closer to their mate and were more committed and more satisfied.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Patrick et al., 2007).