Why 50% On Dating Apps Don’t Want Dates (M)

What do people use dating apps for if not to date?

What do people use dating apps for if not to date?

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This Is The Single Biggest Predictor Of Divorce

Four things that kill a relationship stone dead.

Four things that kill a relationship stone dead.

When someone has contempt for their partner, this is the single greatest predictor of divorce.

The conclusion comes from psychologist Professor John Gottman, who has been analysing relationships, both good and bad for over 40 years.

He’s followed couples across decades in many psychological studies to see what kinds of behaviours predict whether they would stay together in the long-term or were soon destined for the divorce courts.

Amongst the factors he identified, four have stood out, time and time again.

When Gottman sees a couple’s communication overrun with these, the chances are they will divorce in an average of around six years from their marriage.

1. Contempt

Contempt can involve sarcasm, name-calling, mimicking and eye-rolling.

Whatever form it takes, contempt makes the other person feel worthless.

Contempt is also bad for your health, as Gottman found that couples who were contemptuous of each other suffered from more infectious diseases like colds and flu.

Alternatively: build respect by appreciating the positive, e.g. “Love your taste in music!” (NOT “The sound of your laughter makes me want to vomit.”)

2. Criticism

Of course we all complain to each other—married couples more than most—but it’s a particular type of corrosive criticism that Gottman identified as being so destructive.

This is when one criticises the other’s core being, their personality.

For example: “You’re late because you don’t care about me“.

We all make mistakes, but notice that here it’s all about how those mistakes are interpreted.

At their worst, criticisms have the implication that the other person is bad or wrong at some deeper level.

Repeated criticisms that strike at the heart of the other person’s being signal the end of the relationship will be sooner rather than later.

Alternatively: voice the concern and make a request, e.g. “I’m bored, let’s have a game of cards.” (NOT: “You’re ignoring me you selfish @#$%!”)

3. Defensiveness

A person is too defensive when they are always trying to make excuses for their failures or slip-ups.

People do this automatically from time-to-time, but when it becomes a persistent theme in a relationship, this can signal the end.

It’s an even worse signal when partners are also trying to score points off the other on top of being defensive.

After all, people who live together are supposed to be in partnership, supporting each other.

Life is difficult enough without being attacked from within as well as from without.

Alternatively: take your share of the blame and suggest a solution, e.g. “I guess I should have put it on my list, OK let’s do it now.” (NOT: No, I didn’t pay the gas bill because you forgot to remind me.”)

4. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when a person metaphorically raises the drawbridge and cuts off communication.

There are no nods of encouragement to their partner when they speak, no attempt to empathise and no effort to respond or connect.

It’s like talking to a brick wall.

Stonewalling can often be a result of a prolonged period of criticism, contempt and defensiveness.

It may feel like the only response to a worsening situation, but lack of communication will not solve the problems at the heart of the relationship.

Alternatively: speak, move, respond, blink, move a muscle, anything! (NOT: here’s my impression of a brick wall.)

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The Two Most Harmful Relationship Patterns

Be aware of the two most harmful relationship patterns.

Be aware of the two most harmful relationship patterns.

People who expect their partners to read their minds are harming their relationships, research finds.

It occurs when there are problems in the relationship and one person disengages and does not communicate their problems to the other.

It often happens when that person is anxious about the relationship and feels neglected.

Anger and negative communication often result from expecting the other person to be a mind-reader.

Dr Keith Sanford, who led the study, explained:

“You’re worried about how much your partner loves you, and that’s associated with neglect.

You feel sad, hurt and vulnerable.”

Toxic disengagement

Expecting the other person to be telepathic is one of the most toxic ways that people disengage psychologically from a relationship.

The other is type is withdrawing.

Dr Sanford said:

“It’s a defensive tactic that people use when they feel they are being attacked, and there’s a direct association between withdrawal and lower satisfaction overall with the relationship.”

Withdrawing when attacked by your partner complains or criticises is extremely common.

Dr Sanford said it is…

“…more characteristic of unhappiness.

Just about everyone does that from time to time, but you see more of that in distressed relationships.”

Partners who psychologically withdraw from the relationship are more likely to be disinterested or bored with the other person.

Dr Sanford said:

“There’s a desire to maintain autonomy, control and distance.”

While one person makes demands on the relationship (often, but not always the woman), the other person disengages, Dr Sanford said:

“Often, you have one person who withdraws and the other demands.

The more the one demands and complains, the more the other withdraws, and so on.

It’s an issue both of being aware of when these behaviors are occurring and of finding an alternative — a more constructive, polite approach to resolve conflict.

And at times, that’s easier said than done.”

The results come from surveys of thousands of people in relationships.

They answered questions about relationship conflicts, how they responded and the emotions that resulted.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Assessment (Nichols et al., 2014).

Who Says “I Love You” First: Men Or Women? (M)

Saying “I love you” is a risk — if it is not reciprocated it could irreparably damage the relationship.

Saying "I love you" is a risk -- if it is not reciprocated it could irreparably damage the relationship.

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The Fascinating Sign Of A Healthy Relationship

How to predict if a relationship will end in marriage.

How to predict if a relationship will end in marriage.

When looking back, couples destined to marry accurately remember the ups and downs of their relationship, research reveals.

Happy couples have no reason to try and hide any problems from themselves to make it feel like they are moving forwards.

On the other hand, people with poor relationships have distorted memories that bear little relation to the truth.

Misremembering the past may be a way of papering over the cracks in a failing relationship.

Professor Brian G. Ogolsky, the study’s first author, explained:

“People like to feel that they’re making progress as a couple.

If they’re not — if, in fact, the relationship is in trouble — they may have distorted recollections that help them feel like they’re moving forward because they need a psychological justification to stay in the relationship.”

The results come from a nine-month study involving 232 heterosexual couples who had dated for around two years.

All rated their chances of eventually getting married every month, for 8 months.

Three groups of couples emerged: those whose relationships were getting worse, those who were staying the same and those who were improving.

Professor Ogolsky said that those whose relationships were improving had remarkably accurate memories:

“Couples who had deepened their commitment remembered their relationship history almost perfectly.

The graphs for this group were really interesting because the plot of the end-of-study recollection could be placed right on top of the one we had graphed from the monthly check-ins.”

Those who had maintained their relationships without really moving forward, fooled themselves a little to get the feeling of progress, said Professor Ogolsky:

“They had given themselves some room to grow and remembered the recent past as better than they had reported it being.

If they saw maintenance as stagnation, that’s a way of addressing that cognitive gap.

It helps them feel that their relationship is developing in some way — that they’re making progress.”

Lastly, those whose relationships were on-off, or just off, were mostly in denial, Professor Ogolsky said:

“If we looked at their history as they reported it to us over the nine-month period, we could see that their chances of marriage were plummeting.

Yet their recollection was that things had been going okay.

Of course, they hadn’t seen the graph so they didn’t know their trajectory looks this dire, but it’s fair to say they were in denial about the state of their relationship.”

The study was published in the journal Personal Relationships (Ogolsky & Surra, 2014).

The Worst Attachment Style For A Relationship

This attachment style can be damaging to relationships.

This attachment style can be damaging to relationships.

Anxiously attached people are more likely to be unfaithful to their partner, suggesting this is one of the worst attachment styles, research finds.

High levels of attachment anxiety are linked to a fear of abandonment.

People who are anxiously attached are extremely ‘needy’.

If an anxiously attached person does not get the reassurance they seek in their current relationship, they are likely to look elsewhere.

Around one in five people has an anxious attachment style.

A classic sign is having wildly varying feelings about the relationship from one day to the next.

People experiencing attachment anxiety spend a lot of time thinking about what the other person wants.

They can easily move from feeling strongly attached, to wanting independence.

The conclusions come from a study of over 200 newlywed couples who were followed for almost five years.

They were given tests of their personality, attachment style and relationship satisfaction.

The results showed that if either partner was anxiously attached, then they had a higher chance of being unfaithful.

Dealing with the worst attachment style

One answer to the issues that anxiously attached people face may be therapy:

“…interventions such as attachment based family therapy and attachment-focused group intervention have been effective at reducing attachment anxiety and thus may help prevent infidelity among anxiously attached intimates.”

Another is for a partner of an anxiously attached person to work on being more responsive:

“…intimates report reduced attachment insecurity when they are with responsive partners than when they are with unresponsive partners.”

In contrast to anxiously attached people, those who were avoidantly attached were less likely to be unfaithful.

People who are avoidant want to avoid getting too attached to the other person.

Around one in four people has an avoidant attachment style.

Both avoidant and anxious attachment are both insecure types of attachment.

Just over 50% of people are securely attached to their partner.

The securely attached are the least likely to be unfaithful as they do not worry about their partner straying or the strength of the relationship.

The study was published in the Journal of Family Psychology (Russell et al., 2013).

3 Personality Traits Associated With Infidelity

Up to 50% of people admit cheating on their partner.

Up to 50% of people admit cheating on their partner.

People who are low on conscientiousness are more likely to cheat on their partner, research finds.

People who are not conscientious are careless, badly organised and find it hard to resist temptation.

People who are more extraverted are also more likely to cheat on their partner, the researchers found.

It is probably because extraverted people have a wider social circle and so more opportunities to cheat.

Also, extraverts are impulsive, sensation-seekers who can easily succumb to their desires.

The conclusions come from a survey of 208 people, who were asked about their relationships and whether they had cheated.

Up to 50% of people admit cheating on their partner, the authors write:

“Early studies reported that by the age of 40, 50% of all married men and more than 25% of all married women have engaged in extramarital sexual behavior.

Three decades later, an estimated 50% of men continued to engage in sexual and/or emotional extramarital relations while 40% of women engaged in similar relationships.”

The results of the study revealed that cheaters tend to be low in conscientiousness, extraverted and open to experience.

Extraverts tend to seek out stimulation, the authors write:

“Extroverts may be inclined to cheat to obtain stimulation and prevent boredom.

Extroversion may also facilitate less investment in the relationship when those with this trait seek out others for stimulation, thereby decreasing commitment and resulting in cheating behaviours.”

The third personality trait associated with infidelity is openness to experience.

Openness to experience is linked to intellect and creativity.

The authors explain:

“…cheaters may perceive themselves as having stronger intellect and stronger creativity compared to that of their partners, leading them to seek out partners that may be a better, that is, similar, match.”

The study was published in the journal Current Psychology (Orzeck & Lung, 2005).

How To Encourage Your Partner To Change Themselves

Empathy for certain emotions helps couples have difficult discussions about change, research finds.

Empathy for certain emotions helps couples have difficult discussions about change, research finds.

Direct communication is the best way to get your partner to change, research finds.

Whether it is getting them to lose weight, spend less money or change life goals, being more direct is the best approach.

Naturally, these sorts of discussions are fraught with difficulty.

The emotional tone of the communication is vital.

Be empathetic

One key to having difficult discussions is empathy.

Research shows that people with stronger relationships tend to be better at reading the emotions of embarrassment, shame and sadness in their partner.

Couples who perceived these softer negative emotions more clearly tended to be more satisfied with their relationships.

In contrast, those who were better at spotting stronger negative emotions, like anger and contempt, had weaker relationships.

Dr Bonnie Le, the study’s first author, explained the reason:

“If you are appeasing with your partner — or feel embarrassed or bashful — and your partner accurately picks up on this, it can signal to your partner that you care about their feelings and recognize a change request might be hurtful.

Or if your partner is angry or contemptuous — what we call dominance emotions — that signals very different, negative information that may hurt a partner if they accurately perceive it.”

Reading embarrassment and shame

The study included 11 couples who had dated for an average of three years.

They were asked to discuss what aspects of their partner they wanted to change.

Naturally, this raised some strong emotions which the researchers asked the couples about after the discussion.

This procedure simulates a common way of dealing with relationship conflict: by asking your partner to change.

The results showed that couples able to read emotions like sadness, embarrassment and shame had stronger relationships.

This is probably because being able to read these emotions helps difficult discussions — like those requesting change — to go more smoothly.

However, reacting more strongly to anger and contempt likely derails difficult discussions early on.

Professor Stéphane Côté, study co-author, said:

“We think reading emotions allows partners to coordinate what they do and say to each other, and perhaps that is helpful when appeasement emotions are read, but not when anger emotions are read.

Anger seems to overpower any effect of reading emotions, which is consistent with lots of research findings on how anger harms relationships.”

Direct communication is the best way to get a partner to change.

It must be done sensitively, though, said Dr Le:

“It’s not bad to feel a little bashful or embarrassed when raising these issues because it signals to the partner that you care and it’s valuable for your partner to see that.

You acknowledge that what you raise may hurt their feelings.

It shows that you are invested, that you are committed to having this conversation, and committed to not hurting them.

And the extent to which this is noted by your partner may foster a more positive relationship.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Le et al., 2020).

This Behavioural Pattern Is Incredibly Toxic To Any Relationship

An important sign that a relationship is in trouble.

An important sign that a relationship is in trouble.

One of the most toxic relationship patterns involves ‘the silent treatment’.

Shutting down communication is part of a pattern psychologists call the ‘demand-withdraw’ pattern.

The demand-withdraw pattern frequently happens in relationships when they are distressed.

It involves one partner — often the woman — making demands, while the man withdraws.

Sometimes it happens in the reverse direction but, either way, it is very damaging for a relationship and can be difficult to escape from.

Professor Paul Schrodt, the study’s first author, said:

“It’s the most common pattern of conflict in marriage or any committed, established romantic relationship.

And it does tremendous damage.”

The conclusions come from an analysis of 74 different studies carried out with over 14,000 participants.

The results revealed that couples displaying the demand-withdraw pattern had the lowest relationship satisfaction.

They also reported poorer communication, lower intimacy, higher aggression and anxiety.

Professor Schrodt said:

“Partners get locked in this pattern, largely because they each see the other as the cause.

Both partners see the other as the problem.”

Husbands tend to do the withdrawing, Professor Schrodt explained:

“One of the most important things we found is that even though wife-demand/husband-withdraw occurs more frequently, it’s not more or less damaging.

It’s a real, serious sign of distress in the relationship.”

Escaping demand-withdraw

The best way of dealing with this pattern is by accepting and validating the other person’s identity.

This is done through improving communication.

Men should listen and understand their partner, while women should reduce their negativity and hostility (or, the reverse if the woman is withdrawing).

It is better to bring up issues as neutrally as possible so they can be heard.

When both partners can communicate problems and feel they understand each other, their marital satisfaction is higher.

The study was published in the journal Communication Monographs (Schrodt et al., 2014).

Why Some People Won’t Commit To A Relationship

Why some people dislike committing to a relationship and avoid a partner who is “clingy”.

Why some people dislike committing to a relationship and avoid a partner who is “clingy”.

People who avoid committing to a romantic relationship are often the product of over-intrusive or unresponsive parenting, research finds.

In other words, people who get too much attention from their parents, or too little, find relationship commitment harder.

Almost one-quarter of people in the study were found to have an ‘avoidant’ attachment style.

This means they dislike committing to a relationship and do not not like a partner who is “clingy”.

Being avoidant springs from having caregivers who were over-intrusive, i.e. who are always managing the child’s life and trying to do everything for them.

Avoidance is also the result of unresponsive parenting, which is the opposite of over-intrusive parenting.

Unresponsive parents show little warmth, are emotionally distance, may intentionally avoid their children and have few expectations of their child’s behaviour.

Both types of parenting — too much and too little — are linked to an avoidant attachment style as an adult.

Dr Sharon Dekel, the study’s first author, explained:

“Avoidant individuals are looking for somebody to validate them, accept them as they are, can consistently meet their needs and remain calm — including not making a fuss about anything or getting caught up in their own personal issues.”

People who are avoidant tend to adopt an “infant-mother” intimacy model.

In other words, they are not looking for another emotionally mature adult, but rather a ‘mother’ or ‘father’ figure to look after them.

The study’s authors write:

“Avoidant individuals seem to need psychological nourishment from their partners as much as infants do, resembling an early developmental stage of relatedness.

Like the mother, the partner serves to validate the avoidant individual’s self.

However, similar to the avoidant infant, adults with an avoidant attachment style fear rejection and attempt to deactivate the attachment system by limiting closeness.

Avoidant individuals, then, present with an ongoing struggle between deep attachment needs and deep attachment
defenses.”

The study was published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (Dekel & Farber, 2012).

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