There’s no question that romantic breakups can be really hard. Losing a partner we’ve become very close to means losing someone who was previously part of our daily lives. As a result, breakups can undermine our ability to sleep and eat well (among other things). Research has revealed that experiencing a breakup has several unique effects on our sense of self or self-concept (i.e., everything that makes us who we are) as well. For example, research has demonstrated that, after a breakup, people feel that their self-concept is smaller than it was before the breakup; in other words, they feel like their self-concept has diminished somewhat.1 This makes sense, since over time people tend to incorporate their romantic partner into their self-concept, meaning that their individual identities begin to merge (that is, “me” and “you” becomes “we” and “us”). In the wake of a breakup, then, the self-concept may feel reduced or contracted because there used to be another person involved in it (e.g., part of “me” used to include being a loving partner to a specific person, and now that part is gone).
It's time for a snack and you're wondering what to eat, preferably something healthy as you're trying to stay fit. There may be a simple solution; research demonstrates that the simple act of looking at a friendship-based love symbol, such as a heart, can sway your appetite toward a healthy craving (e.g. an apple). Whereas looking at a sexual-based love symbol, such as a picture of a kiss mark, could lead you to giving into the Snickers bar you’ve been thinking about. As such, it may be wise to surround yourself with some heart pictures to help curb your appetite!
Raska, D., & Nichols, B. S. (2012). Using subtle reminders of love to foster healthy snack choices. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 11(6), 432-442. doi:10.1002/cb.1381
Lauren Acri is a student at Monmouth University and a Psychology major.
She is currently a research assistant in the Gender Development Laboratory investigating the role gender plays in early childhood.
Think about the last time your friend or romantic partner did something nice for you. Now think about that other person’s motivations: Do you think s/he did it for you out of care for you or out of obligation? We asked people this question in two studies; across both studies, people who were more avoidantly attached—that is, people who were more uncomfortable depending on and opening up to others—were more likely to think that their friends or romantic partners did things for them because they felt like they had to, not because they wanted to.1 These perceptions may help avoidant people keep their partners at arm’s length and protect avoidant people from depending on or opening up to their partners. After all, if someone does something for you because they feel like they have to—not because they truly want to—you might assume they don’t really care about you anyway, so why should you depend on them in the future?
So I have a confession to make, and you have to promise not to judge me.
I am totally “fangirling” over the current Bachelorette Andi Dorfman. There is something remarkable about her, and whatever it is is generating some polarizing opinions.
Oh, and did I mention that Andi was an assistant district attorney before she resigned to do the show? What more could you ask for in a lead role!
If Andi is so great, why is she provoking such mixed reactions?
With summer upon us, many women will go to the mall to revamp their closet with this year’s latest trends. After all, how are you going to get the attention of your cute neighbor if you’re wearing the same boring clothes you wore last year? Let’s be honest: you’re not. But with a less-than-stellar economy, more women are cutting back on their wardrobe allowance and are instead opting to purchase only a few ‘I can’t live without you’ pieces. So ladies, how do you decide whether to replace your old shorts with the forever-sexy daisy dukes or the back in style, more modest high-waisted shorts?
In the 36th installment of Relationship Matters, the podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships produced by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Claudia Brumbaugh (Queens College, City University of New York) discusses her recent research on rebound relationships.
Typically, people define a rebound relationship as a relationship that is initiated shortly after a breakup, before the individual has fully ‘gotten over’ the prior relationship.
Dr. Brumbaugh and her collaborator, Dr. Chris Fraley (University of Illinois), conducted two studies of people who had recently gone through a break up. Specifically, they looked at how people were doing post-breakup, how they felt about their ex-partners, and whether or not they were seeing someone new.
Though many assume that rebound relationships are a bad idea, participants in rebound relationships felt more confident about their desirability as a partner and showed signs of letting go of any feelings they had for their ex-partners.
You likely heard this song at some point in your childhood (though likely with different names, depending on who was being teased that day): “John and Jane sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage.” These types of songs reflect the social pressure couples experience as their relationships develop. Even if society doesn’t assume that babies naturally come after marriage, a couple’s family members may drop some not-so-subtle hints about their desire for a new baby in the family. For many, getting married, starting a family, and having children isn’t a choice, but rather the default option, or more simply put, “just what people do”1 But what about couples who make the conscious decision to not have children? Given the various pressures and expectations that conspire to encourage procreation, opting out of parenthood is a big decision for relationship partners to make.
Consuming alcohol can both benefit and harm romantic relationships. For example, drinking can be a way for couple members to connect—perhaps over a bottle of wine—and share their week. However, if someone believes their partner drinks too much, it can strain the relationship. Some recent research1 explored how perceiving one’s partner as having a drinking problem might be associated with relationship quality among college students. In addition, the researchers examined the use of drinking regulation strategies, or the behaviors that people use to try to change their partner’s drinking (such as yelling or withdrawing).
We don’t mind that they weren’t fond of the term, but we do take offense to them misreporting the findings of the study. They say that (in addition to hating the term), “…you can hate are the people who use them [relfies] too much, that is to say, happy couples who post a lot of selfies together. According to the same researchers who coined relfie, the whole point of doing so was to find out what the use of such hot pix indicates about the status of the relationship illustrated therein.”
Along with Jezebel, several other media outlets misreported that people don’t like other people who post relfies. Our study DID NOT find this.
It isn’t every day that you get to invent a cool new word. But that is exactly what we at Science Of Relationships did by coining the term “relfie” in an article about how people present their relationships on Facebook.
As something new and cool related to the Internet, Jezebel.com wrote about our new invention. Jezebel doesn't hate it (“Relfie isn't hate-worthy”), but do think it is redundant with a selfie.
As the originators of the term, we politely disagree.
Bob is interested in dating Anne and thinks that they could really click, but he is unsure whether Anne feels the same way. As a result, Bob is afraid to make a move on Anne because he doesn’t want to be rejected. So Bob plays it cool, thinking that his interest is obvious to Anne, and waits to see if Anne will ask him out. Anne, who is interested in Bob, is also worried about being rejected, and so she also plays it cool and waits to see if Bob will ask her out. They are both holding back because they each fear rejection, but because neither of them make a move, they both assume each is disinterested in the other. They also both think their worries about rejection and interest in dating are obvious. Alas, Bob and Anne never end up dating, because they both waited for the other to make the first move and when the move didn’t happen, they assumed the other was disinterested. You may have experienced versions of this scenario in your own life, or seen it played out on TV or in movies. In this post, I describe research on how the fear of rejection affects how people think and behave when trying to start a new relationship (what researchers refer to as relationship initiation).
For three days in July (July 10-13th) the International Association for Relationship Research will be meeting in Melbourne, Australia! There will be speakers from many disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, communication, and anthropology), all of whom will be talking about the newest advances in relationship science. For example, Dr. Garth Fletcher will be talking about how love helps solve the mystery of human evolution, and Dr. Judith Feeney will discuss how our attachment styles affect how we respond to relationship conflict.
Attending the regular conference can be pricey ($200 a day for non-members, or $640 for the entire weekend, including receptions), but the organization is pleased to announce a $10 event designed for the general public that will be held on Wednesday, July 9th from 12-1:30 pm (for those of you in or planning to be in Australia!). At this open event, Australian and international experts on relationships will answer fundamental questions such as Do our relationships early in life shape our relationships in later life? (Professor Jeffry Simpson, University of Minnesota) and What do we look for in a romantic partner? (Dr. Gery Karantza, Deakin University). These thought-provoking presentations will each be followed by a 20 minute Q & A and a light lunch. For registration information for this pre-conference event, please visit here!
In the 35th installment of Relationship Matters, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Eran Bar-Kalifa (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) talks about his research on how receiving emotional support from one’s partner comes with downsides.
Bar-Kalifa, together with Professor Eshkol Rafaeli (Bar-Ilan University & Columbia University), studied couples’ relationships intensively for about a month. The researchers predicted that receiving less support than expected on a given day would be associated with worsened moods on those days. And this was indeed the case. Interestingly, however, they also predicted (and found) that receiving emotional support beyond what was expected on a given day had no additional positive emotional benefit for that day.
How can it be that providing emotional support beyond what is expected has no positive benefit?
For the full story, listen to the podcast here.