The Simple Skill Linked To Profoundly Happier Relationships

People with this skill had higher relationship satisfaction, along with lower stress.

People with this skill had higher relationship satisfaction, along with lower stress.

Being mindful has a profound positive effect on relationships, research finds.

Partners who are able to remain mindful with each other are much less stressed and much happier than those who do not.

While some people have a natural tendency to be more mindful than others, the quality can be trained.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental way.

Even people who are generally mindful may find that they do not always pay full attention to their partner.

It is easy for the attention to wander to future worries and past events.

People low in relationship mindfulness tend to agree with statements such as:

  • “I have conversations with my partner without being
    really attentive.”
  • “When I’m with my partner, I find myself saying or doing things without paying attention.”

Dr Jonathan Kimmes, the study’s first author, said:

“Relationship mindfulness is that tendency to be present with your partner in a nonjudgmental way.

It’s one thing to be mindful when you are at the grocery store, but can you be mindful with the person you are most intimate with?”

The conclusions come from a study of 218 heterosexual couples who were given surveys of their happiness and relationship mindfulness.

The results showed an association between higher relationship mindfulness and better relationship satisfaction, along with lower stress.

Women with mindful partners were also less depressed.

Dr Kimmes said:

“To me as a therapist, these results suggest that this area could be a promising target for clinical interventions.

There are many mindfulness practices that could work with clients, so which ones should you choose?

We should look at practices specific to relationships for people seeking therapy in that area.”

The study was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy (Kimmes et al., 2019).

3 Reasons People Stay In Abusive Relationships

The most common form of relationship abuse is psychological.

The most common form of relationship abuse is psychological.

Women stay in abusive relationships due to a combination of low self-esteem, poor alternatives and how much they have already invested in the relationship, research finds.

Despite being abused, many women (and men) find it hard to leave their partner.

Only 12 percent of the women in this study who were abused — psychologically or physically — left their partner within two months.

Many women felt they were not worthy of something better.

Their low self-esteem was sometimes the result of experiencing childhood abuse — this appeared to raise their tolerance for abuse.

The conclusions come from a study of 323 women, all of whom reported at least one incident of abuse, whether physical or psychological.

Psychological abuse included things like “called me fat or ugly” or “insulted or swore at me”.

Most of the abuse reported in the study was psychological.

The results showed that 88 percent of women were still with an abusive partner over two months later.

The authors write that:

“…women experiencing high levels of psychological distress may not feel efficacious in their ability to leave their partners.”

Childhood abuse was an important contributory factor, the authors write:

“…women who were abused in childhood were more satisfied with their current relationships than women who were not abused in childhood.

It is possible that women with childhood abuse histories are more satisfied in their relationships than women without childhood abuse histories because they have more tolerance for mistreatment based on early life experiences and resulting interpersonal schemas.”

Being abused had an unusual effect on women: it encouraged them to work harder at their relationship.

“…the more psychological abuse women are exposed to, the more energy and effort they put forth to resolve the conflict, thus leading to increases in perceived investment.”

And the more women invested in their relationship, the more likely they were to stay in it.

The study was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence (Edwards et al., 2010).

The Personality Type Most Likely To Cheat On Their Partner

The top two psychological causes of infidelity.

The top two psychological causes of infidelity.

Men and women cheat on their partners at about equal rates.

According to various studies, somewhere between 40 percent and 76 percent of people cheat on their partners over the course of their relationship.

The type of people most likely to cheat are those with ‘avoidant attachment styles’.

In other words: these are people who find intimacy uncomfortable.

They are the kind of people who want to avoid being too attached to one person.

This could be because of poor parental relationships when they were young.

They could also value their independence more highly than being very close to one person.

Ms Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, author of a study on the subject, said:

“These numbers indicate that even if we get married with the best of intentions things don’t always turn out the way we plan.

What interests me about infidelity is why people are willing to conduct themselves in ways that could be very damaging to them and to their relationship.”

The top two reasons for infidelity that people cited were: (1) distancing themselves from commitment and (2) distancing themselves from their partner.

“The emotional attachment we have with others is modelled on the type of parenting received during childhood.

Infidelity could be a regulatory emotional strategy used by people with an avoidant attachment style.

The act of cheating helps them avoid commitment phobia, distances them from their partner, and helps them keep their space and freedom.”

No difference was seen between men and women in the study.

Ms Beaulieu-Pelletier said:

 “Contrary to popular belief, infidelity isn’t more prevalent in men.”

The study was published in the journal Attachment and Human Development (Beaulieu-Pelletier et al., 2009).

The Attachment Style That Kills A Relationship

Around one in five people have this attachment style.

Around one in five people have this attachment style.

Anxiously attached people tend to bring up old arguments over and over again, research finds.

Recalling old grudges or misdeeds adds fire to new arguments and kills the relationship.

Psychologists call this ‘kitchen sinking’.

Kitchen sinking is throwing everything into arguments, but the kitchen sink.

Anxiously attached people do this partly because they worry that their partners do not care for them.

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

People who are anxiously attached are extremely ‘needy’.

Around one in five people have an anxious attachment style.

The conclusions come from a series of studies involving many hundreds of people.

In one, 201 people in romantic relationships were asked about their attachment anxiety and past conflicts.

The results showed that anxiously attached people were more likely to remember old conflicts.

Ms Kassandra Cortes, the study’s first author, explained:

“When memories feel closer to the present, those memories are construed as more relevant to the present and more representative of the relationship.

If one bad memory feels recent, a person will also be more likely to remember other past slights, and attach more importance to them.”

Naturally, remembering past conflicts makes people act more destructively in the moment, with disastrous consequences for the relationship.

However, the study also showed that sweeping conflicts under the carpet was not effective either.

Instead, conflicts need to be resolved as they occur, Ms Cortes said:

“It may be useful for people to resolve an issue with their partner when it occurs, rather than pretending to forgive their partner or just letting it go when they are clearly upset.

This way, the issue may be less likely to resurface in the future.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Cortes & Wilson, 2016).

Why People Cheat And How To Reduce The Chance (M)

People often do not plan to cheat, but when the opportunity arises cannot resist the temptation.

People often do not plan to cheat, but when the opportunity arises cannot resist the temptation.

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The Relationship Pattern Linked To Poor Mental Health

These types of relationships are linked to higher anxiety and depression.

These types of relationships are linked to higher anxiety and depression.

On-off relationships are linked to worse mental health, research finds.

These types of cycling relationships involve couples repeatedly breaking up and then getting back together later on.

Psychologists have found that on-off relationships are linked to higher anxiety and depression.

These couples are also likely to experience lower commitment, worse communication and higher levels of abuse.

As many as 60 percent of adults have had a relationship like this in the past, or are currently involved in one.

They can be caused by a variety of things such as jobs or homes in different locations or having little in common outside the bedroom.

Often couples like this return to each other for comfort and in the hope that the relationship will eventually become more stable.

Dr Kale Monk, the study’s first author, thinks that this pattern is not always a bad omen for a couple.

Breaking up can sometimes eventually cause the couple to realise what they have been missing and commit to the relationship.

However, couples that repeatedly break up and get back together should consider whether the relationship is toxic in the long run.

The study involved 545 couples, some of whom were heterosexual and others homosexual.

The results showed that about one-third of couples that lived together had broken up and got back together again.

The researchers also found that male-male relationships had the highest rate of cycling (on-off relationships).

Both heterosexual and female-female couples had lower, but similar, levels of cycling.

Dr Monk said:

“The findings suggest that people who find themselves regularly breaking up and getting back together with their partners need to ‘look under the hood’ of their relationships to determine what’s going on.

If partners are honest about the pattern, they can take the necessary steps to maintain their relationships or safely end them.

This is vital for preserving their well-being.”

The study was published in the journal Family Relations (Monk et al., 2018).

This Warning Sign Of Infidelity Is In Their Voice

A warning signal that someone is a higher risk for cheating on their partner.

A warning signal that someone is a higher risk for cheating on their partner.

A man with a deeper voice and a woman with a higher voice are more likely to cheat on their partner, research finds.

Voice pitch is linked to levels of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen.

People naturally find men with deeper voices and women with higher voices more attractive.

However, they also seem to be naturally aware that they could be markers of trouble down the line.

Dr Jillian O’Connor, the study’s first author, said:

“In terms of sexual strategy, we found that men and women will use voice pitch as a warning sign of future betrayal.

So the more attractive the voice — a higher pitch for women and lower pitch for men — the more likely the chances he or she will cheat.”

In the study people listened to recordings of male and female voices that were manipulated to be higher and lower in pitch.

They were asked which one was most likely to cheat on their partner.

Both men and women thought that lowered male voices and raised women’s voices suggested the person would be more likely to cheat.

Dr O’Connor said:

“Infidelity is costly with the emotional impact, financial costs and potential loss of the family unit.

But this suggests that through the evolutionary process, we have learned ways to avoid partners who may be unfaithful as a protection mechanism.”

Dr David Feinberg, study co-author, said:

“The reason voice pitch influences perceptions of cheating is likely due to the relationship between pitch, hormones and infidelity.

Men with higher testosterone levels have lower pitched voices, and women with higher estrogen levels have higher pitched voices.

High levels of these hormones are associated with adulterous behaviour and our findings indicate individuals are somewhat aware of the link and may use this in their search for a romantic partner.”

The study was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology (O’Connor et al., 2011).

Naive Cynicism In Psychology: Example Of This Cognitive Bias

Naive cynicism can poison your relationships, psychological research finds.

Naive cynicism can poison your relationships, psychological research finds.

People tended to assume that others are more biased than they really are.

This bias is called ‘naive cynicism’.

It is wrongly thinking the worst of other people.

Naive cynicism example

Of course, cynicism has its uses.

Being suspicious about the motives of others won’t leave you gasping when you are tricked.

Expecting negative events means you are never disappointed.

Anything good is a bonus.

But can cynicism go to far? A study by Kruger and Gilovich (1999) suggests it can.

The authors asked married couples to estimate how often their partner was responsible for both desirable and undesirable relationship events.

This came out about even: each person admitted causing some bad events while claiming responsibility for some of the good events in the relationship.

Half and half, fair’s fair.

They then asked each person to estimate what their partner had claimed.

Here’s the surprise.

On average people assumed their partners would take more responsibility for the good events and deny the bad events.

Actually they’d done nothing of the sort.

People tended to assume that others are more biased than they really are.

It’s not just married people who show this bias.

The authors also studied video game players, debaters and darts players.

A similar type of bias was seen in these groups as well.

Naïve cynicism develops early

Research in children shows this bias develops early.

Mills and Keil (2005) found that by as young as seven children have learnt to be cynical. The authors even suggest children may be more cynical than adults.

Life can be more pleasant – especially with your partner – when you give the benefit of the doubt. It may well be the cynics who are deluding themselves.


There’s Something Very Strange Happening To Modern Friendships

Modern societies are often highly mobile, with people moving around for work, school or just to start afresh.

Modern societies are often highly mobile, with people moving around for work, school or just to start afresh.

People in modern societies tend to move home frequently, which is damaging to the nature of their friendships.

Research finds that moving regularly is linked to thinking that friendships and close social ties are more disposable.

Unfortunately, without strong social ties to friends and family it is harder to feel safe and secure.

Similarly, moving around a lot is also linked to the same attitude of disposability towards objects.

Dr Omri Gillath, one of the book’s authors, said:

“We found a correlation between the way you look at objects and perceive your relationships.

If you move around a lot, you develop attitudes of disposability toward objects, furniture, books, devices — basically whatever merchandise you have at home, your car even.”

Modern societies are often highly mobile, with people moving around for work, school or just to start afresh.

The research found that the more people have moved around the country, the more they tend to have a disposable view of both objects and close social ties.

Dr Gillath said:

“This isn’t a new idea of the United States as a mobile country — for many people here, moving up means moving around.

If you’re willing to move for school or a job, you have a higher chance of being successful.

But we’re saying it also makes things superficial and disposable.

It might be fine to have disposable diapers but not disposable friendships.

If you know you’re moving and develop the idea that everything can be replaced, you won’t develop same strong and deep ties.

We’re suggesting this is a broad phenomenon where we all tend to look at relationships to co-workers, friends and social network members as replaceable.

Even in romantic relationships, when I ask my students what would they do when things get difficult, most of them say they would move on rather than try to work things out, or God forbid, turn to a counselor.”

These kinds of attitudes can be psychologically unhealthy, Gillath thinks:

“Research suggests only deeper high-quality ties provide us with the kind of support we need like love, understanding and respect.

You need these very close ties to feel safe and secure and function properly.

If social ties are seen as disposable, you’re less likely to get what you need from your network, which can negatively affect your mental and physical health as well as your longevity.”

The friendship crisis

There’s little doubt that having friends is tremendously good for people.

Those who invest in their friendships experience greater psychological and physical health, particularly among the elderly (Lu et al., 2021).

Despite this, people find it hard to make friends.

Dr William Chopik, an expert on relationships, said:

“In today’s world there’s a general feeling that we’re in a ‘friendship crisis’ in which people are lonely and want friends but struggle to make them.

We show here that they’re beneficial for nearly everyone, everywhere.

But why are they so hard to form and keep?”

It is likely that one of the many answers is that friends are viewed as disposable.

The book is called “Adult Attachment: A Concise Introduction to Theory and Research” (Gillath et al., 2016).

What Having Children Does To Your Relationship

Parenthood brings many stressors including lack of sleep and endless chores, which puts immense strain on parents and their relationship.

Parenthood brings many stressors including lack of sleep and endless chores, which puts immense strain on parents and their relationship.

Most couples remain committed to each other and satisfied with their relationships after having children, a study finds.

While the transition to parenthood is filled with stressors, like lack of sleep and endless chores, the majority of couples get through it with their connection to each other intact.

The conclusions come from a study of over 200 couples who were tracked over more than a year as they had their first child.

Mr Nathan Leonhardt, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“The clear majority (81 percent) of the 203 couples navigated the transition with high commitment and at least moderately high satisfaction.

And we learned that a huge differentiation as far as who ended up transitioning well were people that had good relationships going into this transition period.”

The study also found some factors that predicted the most successful transition to parenthood:

  • More realistic expectations of having children,
  • feeling their partner helped them grow as a person,
  • believing their partner was committed to the relationship,
  • and remaining emotionally connected to their partner.

Professor Emily Impett, study co-author, said:

“I think the focus on commitment as an outcome during the transition to parenthood is really important, and the take-home that most couples begin but remain highly committed over this life transition is a message that should be music to many couples’ ears.”

Many people believe that relationships suffer from parenthood, but Mr Leonhardt thinks this is unnecessarily gloomy:

“I like being able to point out exceptions to the norm, to ‘myth bust’ a little bit.

So with something like the transition to parenthood, I wanted to be able to see if we could break some of the common narratives and give people a little bit more hope.”

Children won’t save a relationship

However, parents should not expect having a child to save their relationship, Mr Leonhardt said:

“As a general rule, if things aren’t going well in your relationship, adding another person to this family probably isn’t the thing that you should be doing to try to resolve any relationship problems that you have.”

Mr Leonhardt is fascinated by relationships and how they affect our lives:

“If you were to ask somebody about the best and worst experiences they’ve had in their lives, there’s a high percentage of experiences that would have something to do with their relationship.

It’s just such an integral part of who we are as human beings and how we come to understand ourselves, and what’s ultimately most important to us in our lives.”

The study was published in the journal Journal of Marriage and Family (Leonhardt et al., 2021).

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