2 Easy Questions That Improve Relationships

Two questions that boost relationships satisfaction.

Two questions that boost relationships satisfaction.

“How will I feel in one year about this current conflict in my relationship?”

That is the first question that makes people feel better about their relationship conflicts.

After asking this question, people feel more positive about their relationship, research reveals.

Taking up a future perspective like this causes people to interpret their relationship in a more positive light.

When people think about their future together, they tend to be more forgiving about current conflicts.

Mr Alex Huynh, the study’s first author, said:

“When romantic partners argue over things like finances, jealousy, or other interpersonal issues, they tend to employ their current feelings as fuel for a heated argument.

By envisioning their relationship in the future, people can shift the focus away from their current feelings and mitigate conflicts.”

For the study, couples were asked to think back to a recent conflict.

Half took a future-orientation to it while the remainder described it in the present.

People who imagined themselves in the future felt more positive about their relationships, the results showed.

A future orientation encouraged people to be more forgiving to their partner and also blame them less.

Mr Huynh said:

“Our study demonstrates that adopting a future-oriented perspective in the context of a relationship conflict — reflecting on how one might feel a year from now — may be a valuable coping tool for one’s psychological happiness and relationship well-being.”

How are you feeling?

A second simple question that can improve relationships is asking “How are you feeling?”

This is because couples are often poor at knowing when their partner is sad, lonely or a little down.

Instead, couples tend to assume their partner feels the same way as they do.

Asking “How are you feeling?” and working on ’empathic accuracy’ could improve the relationship.

Sadness and loneliness were particularly difficult to read, researchers have found.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Huynh et al., 2016).

5 Simple Signs Of A Cheating Partner

Up to half of people admit to cheating on their partner.

Up to half of people admit to cheating on their partner.

People who cheat at work are more likely to cheat on their partner as well.

Professional misconduct is linked to doubling the rate of marital infidelity, new research finds.

Another common sign of a cheating partner is having been unfaithful in past relationships.

Certain personality types are also more likely to cheat.

Men who are impulsive risk-takers are more likely to cheat on their partner.

Among women, being unhappy with their current relationship is linked with cheating.

On average, across men and women, extraverts are more likely to cheat on their partner, research finds.

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.

People who are low on conscientiousness are also more likely to cheat on their partner.

The latest conclusions about infidelity and professional misconduct come from an analysis of people using the Ashley Madison website.

Ashley Madison is a site for married people to have affairs: its slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair”.

In 2015 their site was hacked and details of 36 million users worldwide were released.

The study used this, along with professional misconduct data on 11,235 people with a variety of occupations, including CEOs, financial advisors and police officers.

Using these datasets, the researchers were able to show that people guilty of professional misconduct were twice as likely to use the Ashley Madison website to have an affair.

Dr Samuel Kruger, study co-author, said:

“This is the first study that’s been able to look at whether there is a correlation between personal infidelity and professional conduct.

We find a strong correlation, which tells us that infidelity is informative about expected professional conduct.”

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Griffin et al., 2019).

The Best Financial Arrangement For An Enduring Relationship (M)

Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce.

Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce.

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The Worst Attachment Style For A Relationship

Using this word is a sign of one of the worst attachment styles for a relationship.

Using this word is a sign of one of the worst attachment styles for a relationship.

A person who is avoidantly attached to their partner dislikes using the word ‘we’ when discussing the relationship, research finds.

Instead, avoidantly attached individuals use the word ‘I’ more often.

Attachment styles analyse how people respond to threats and problems in their personal relationships.

Around one-quarter of people form avoidant attachments with others.

Avoidant attachments are where one person (or both) in a relationship won’t commit because they want to avoid getting too attached to the other.

Avoidantly attached people dislike a partner who is too “clingy”.

Dr Will Dunlop, the study’s first author, said:

“The pronouns individuals use when narrating their previous experiences from within their romantic lives provide a clue as to their corresponding attachment styles.”

The study included data from 1,400 observations spread across seven different studies.

The results showed that people who avoided using the pronoun ‘we’ were more likely to be avoidantly attached.

Dr Dunlop said:

“Anxious and avoidant attachment styles capture individual differences in the ways people think, feel, and behave in romantic relationships.

Given that those with higher levels of avoidant attachment were found to demonstrate lower levels of we-talk when describing experiences from their romantic lives, considering the use of we words (e.g., us, ours) in the disclosure of previous romantic experiences may offer indication of one’s avoidant tendencies.

This is a relatively novel and indirect way of gauging avoidant attachment, as individuals are typically unaware of the pronouns they use.”

An avoidant attachment style can spring 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.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Dunlop et al., 2019).

The Simplest Way To Improve Your Relationship

It increases relationship satisfaction and marriage solidity.

It increases relationship satisfaction and marriage solidity.

One of the simplest ways to improve your relationship is to enjoy more hugs and cuddles, research finds.

Couples who experience higher levels of non-sexual touch are more satisfied with their relationships.

Men, in particular, felt more satisfied with their relationships when they were shown more routine affection.

For women, affection through touch was still important, but low levels were linked to relationship dissatisfaction.

Ms Samantha Wagner, the study’s first author, said:

“There’s something specific about touch satisfaction that interplays with relationship satisfaction but not dissatisfaction for wives.”

The study included 184 couples who were interviewed about their relationship and how much affection they routinely showed towards each other.

The results revealed that more affection was linked to better relationships.

On top of this, couple’s satisfaction with non-sexual touch was also linked to having a more solid marriage.

Ms Wagner said:

“Interestingly, there’s some evidence that holding your partner’s hand while you’re arguing de-escalates the argument and makes it more productive.”

However, Ms Wagner warned that not everyone appreciates being touched.

Touch can mean different things to different people and in the wrong context can constitute abuse.

People with autism, for example, can find touch overwhelming.

Still, most people find touch comforting, especially in times of stress, said Ms Wagner:

“Feel free to give some extra snugs on the couch.

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests touch as a way to decrease stress.”

The pandemic has meant that many people cannot be as close to their loved ones as they would wish.

Healthcare workers, for example, may be quarantining themselves from their families.

Ms Wagner said:

“I think we should all hold the loved ones we can a little closer and be thoughtful of the struggles that others might be having because they can’t do just that.

If anything is true for me, a hug has become even more precious than it was before.”

The study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Wagner et al., 2020).

This Personality Type Has The Happiest Marriage

This personality type is more confident in dealing with the inevitable conflicts that marriage throws up.

This personality type is more confident in dealing with the inevitable conflicts that marriage throws up.

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.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Baker & McNulty, 2010).

These 2 Personality Types Are The Most Compatible

People have a romantic type, study demonstrates.

People have a romantic type, study demonstrates.

People choose romantic partners who have similar characteristics to themselves, a study of over 1,000 people has found.

They go for similar personality, intelligence levels and levels of education.

So, the most compatible personality types are similar personalities.

When it comes to physical characteristics, people also seem to have a ‘type’.

For example, women who like attractive, dominant, masculine men tend to have ex-partners who fit the same profile.

The conclusions come from a study in which people were asked about their current and ex-partners.

The results showed that people choose partners who are similar to themselves in many different ways.

Dr Paul Eastwick, the study’s first author, said:

“Do people have a type?

Yes.

But sometimes it reflects your personal desirability and sometimes it reflects where you live.”

Dr Eastwick explained that some of the similarities between ex-partners were down to being brought up in the same area:

“A second study examined the ex-partners of several hundred young adults sampled from schools across the United States.

The exes of a particular person tended to be very similar on variables like education, religiosity, and intelligence, but this type of similarity was entirely due to the school that people attended.

Within their local school context, people were no more or less likely to select educated, intelligent, or religious partners.”

However, locality cannot totally explain why birds of a feather flock together — people are on the lookout for something similar, every time.

The study strongly refutes the received notion that opposites attract.

Far from it: opposites repel!

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Eastwick al., 2017).

Friends Beat Morphine For Killing Pain, Study Suggests

People who are less stressed tend to have more friends.

People who are less stressed tend to have more friends.

People who have more friends have a higher tolerance for pain, research finds.

Friendships really do help to take the pain away, the study concludes.

Ms Katerina Johnson, the study’s first author, explained how endorphins help kill pain:

“Endorphins are part of our pain and pleasure circuitry — they’re our body’s natural painkillers and also give us feelings of pleasure.

Previous studies have suggested that endorphins promote social bonding in both humans and other animals.

One theory, known as ‘the brain opioid theory of social attachment’, is that social interactions trigger positive emotions when endorphin binds to opioid receptors in the brain.

This gives us that feel-good factor that we get from seeing our friends.

To test this theory, we relied on the fact that endorphin has a powerful pain-killing effect — stronger even than morphine.”

Along with a link between larger social networks and higher pain tolerance, two other interesting findings emerged.

People who were fitter had fewer friends; also those who reported higher stress tended to have smaller social networks.

Ms Johnson explained:

“It may simply be a question of time — individuals that spend more time exercising have less time to see their friends.

…[or] perhaps some people use exercise as an alternative means to get their ‘endorphin rush’ rather than socialising.

The finding relating to stress may indicate that larger social networks help people to manage stress better, or it may be that stress or its causes mean people have less time for social activity, shrinking their network.

Studies suggest that the quantity and quality of our social relationships affect our physical and mental health and may even be a factor determining how long we live.

Therefore, understanding why individuals have different social networks sizes and the possible neurobiological mechanisms involved is an important research topic.

As a species, we’ve evolved to thrive in a rich social environment but in this digital era, deficiencies in our social interactions may be one of the overlooked factors contributing to the declining health of our modern society.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Johnson & Dunbar, 2016).

Single People Now Find This Trait More Attractive Than Money (M)

Lonely hearts ads show a sharp decline in the mention of economic factors between 1950 and 1995 when searching for a potential partner.

Lonely hearts ads show a sharp decline in the mention of economic factors between 1950 and 1995 when searching for a potential partner.

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1 Personality Trait Predicts Happy Marriage Over 40+ Years

One personality trait emerged as the most important for satisfaction across 40+ years of marriage.

One personality trait emerged as the most important for satisfaction across 40+ years of marriage.

People with very stable emotions tend to have the best marriages, research finds.

Stable emotions reflect low levels of the personality trait of neuroticism.

Emotionally stable people (those low in neuroticism) tend not to criticise their partners, behave defensively or be contemptuous of them.

In married couples, having an extraverted, outgoing partner is also linked to higher satisfaction.

In addition, both high agreeableness and high conscientiousness are linked to relationship satisfaction in dating couples.

But it is having a partner that is co-operative and responsible that is the key, not necessarily being that way yourself.

Neuroticism, though, has the greatest effect of all personality traits on how satisfied couples are with their relationship.

People with high levels of neuroticism are more likely to get divorced.

To see how beneficial these traits are imagine for a moment the reverse of someone who is stable, agreeable and responsible.

Being neurotic, along with dis-agreeable and irresponsible is known as the ‘lack-of-self-control’ cluster of personality traits.

It is not hard to see why this set of three personality traits — that are linked to psychopathology and substance abuse — might not make for the best marriage.

The conclusions come from a study that surveyed 136 dating couples and 74 married couples.

They were asked about both their own and their partner’s personality as well as their satisfaction with their marriage.

The personality trait of neuroticism — one of the five major aspects of personality — emerged as most important, just as it has over decades of research.

The study’s authors describe one early piece of research that…

“…studied 278 couples from the mid-1930s through the early 1980s.

[…]

Analyses indicated that respondents who initially were high on neuroticism were more likely to become divorced over the course of the study.

[…]

Neuroticism scores showed significant predictive power across time spans of more than 40 years.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality (Watson et al., 2001).

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