Extraverts have happier marriages, research finds.
Extraverts tend to have fewer marital problems as newlyweds and are more satisfied with their marriages over time.
The reason may be that extraverts are more confident in dealing with the inevitable conflicts that marriage throws up.
In contrast, shy people tended to have the most problems in their marriage.
Shy people reported more issues with jealousy, money, household management and trust.
Shy people likely find it more difficult to enter relationships so they feel more anxiety about their partner.
The conclusions come from a study of 112 couples who were asked about their shyness and marital satisfaction.
Some of the couples were tracked over six months to see if shyness predicted changes in marital satisfaction.
While shyness was linked to worse relationships, shy people can adjust, the study’s authors write:
“There is hope even though shyness itself might be resistant to change.
People can be taught to have more efficacy in how to resolve the specific marital problems they face.
As a consequence, any marital difficulties prompted by personality can be prevented by explicit training on dealing with marital problems.”
A note on shyness
The study asked people about ‘shyness’, which is linked with introversion, but not the same.
The words shy and introverted are often used interchangeably.
Although there is certainly an overlap, shyness is fear and anxiety about social interactions whereas an introvert may be ambivalent towards them.
So, non-shy people are not necessarily extraverts — although they are likely to be.
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 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Baker & McNulty, 2010).