It is often easy to see how your job influences your relationship. If you work long hours, you have less time to spend with your partner. If you have a particularly hectic or demanding workweek, your work stress can easily spill over into your relationship.1 However, chances are you pay less attention to how your relationship influences your job. If you do in fact “take your relationship to work” with you by letting your personal life influence your job, this may have important implications for your career success. It’s also possible that your relationship doesn’t directly undermine you at your job, but rather negative relationship experiences could harm you emotionally or undermine your physical health, which then compromise your job.
If you're not careful, passive reading of all the press on the college "hook-up" culture would lead you to believe that college campuses are just big orgies. In fact, SofR's Tim Loving recently surveyed a group of 60 students and asked them how many sexual partners they think typical college students rack up during college, and the overwhelming majority assumed it was on the order of 5-10 partners! Who has time for studying?
When is the right time to get married? My boyfriend and I are currently in college and have been dating for 3 years. He talks about getting married and starting a life, but when is it too soon? Don't get me wrong, I love him and it's not that I don't want to be with him, but our career paths couldn't be more different, and in order for us to be together we would have to move, meaning one of us would have to give up everything (most likely me). He wants to become a physicist and has to attend many more years of schooling, while I'm going to graduate with a B.A in AD/PR. Either we get married and he'll be in school studying, or we wait until he gets his Ph.D. and is settled down.
Making a big life decision like this is not easy, and I am happy to see that you are looking at this practically rather than just romantically. When trying to decide when the “right” time is to get married, it might be useful to first consider what risk factors there are for divorce. Researchers have identified a number of socio-demographic factors associated with divorce that have remained stable over time, such as marrying too young, co-habitation before marriage, not having a religious affiliation, living in an urban area, and growing up in a household where there were not two continuously married parents.1 Other marital stressors also play an important role in predicting divorce, such as financial strains and career demands.
Last time, I talked about how to predict the future success of your relationship armed with nothing but your smartphone. Today, I’ve turned the findings I discussed, like the link between certain text messaging habits and relationship satisfaction, into a quick online quiz. This quiz will give you some perspective on how your relationship is doing. Why not bring the science-talk to life, right?
If you're in a relationship you can take the quiz. Go on, you know you want to know! If you aren't seeing anybody at the moment, consider sending this along to a friend or colleague who is. We'll update you later about the results!
Editors' note: This quiz is part of an informal project on great relationships conducted by contributor Melissa Schneider, LMSW, and is not supervised or conducted by ScienceOfRelationships.com, other contributors, or the academic institutions affliliated with other contributors.
As my wedding draws closer, I find myself immersed in a number of nuptial planning activities. There have been photo shoots, cake tastings, dance lessons, and more uncomfortable fiscal negotiations than I care to recall. If I had a dollar for every time I asked a potential vendor, “How much does that cost?” I’d be wealthy enough to no longer need to ask. When I am able to surface from the sea of never-ending wedding details, decisions, and deadlines, I often wonder how important these matters really are. In 20 years, will I care what stamps I chose for the invitations or who sat at what table during the reception (probably not)? With that in mind, I decided to dedicate some of my preciously scarce time and rapidly diminishing budget to what I felt really would matter, a premarital preparation course. Think of this as Marriage 101, and yes, even “relationship experts” can benefit from a little help.
According to this recent article on the Science website, human's predisposition for monogamy in relationships may have evolved as a mechanism to prevent infanticide. What do you think?
Take a moment to think about the kind of person you would ideally like to be. What skills or traits do you want to possess? Is it important to you that you develop greater patience, foster leadership skills, become physically fit, or learn to speak another language? Psychologists believe that each person has an “ideal self” they strive to become.1 This ideal self is essentially the person you would be if you fulfilled all your dreams and aspirations. Certainly, you might be able to work toward your ideal qualities on your own, but it seems that your romantic partner can be especially helpful (or unhelpful) in shaping you, a process researchers refer to as the Michelangelo phenomenon.2
This phenomenon is named for the Renaissance artist Michelangelo (famous for the Pietà and David, among other masterpieces), who viewed sculpting as an opportunity for an artist to release an ideal figure from the block of stone in which it slumbers. The ideal figure exists within the stone, and the artist simply removes the stone covering it. In romantic relationships, partners adapt to each other, adjusting as needed to keep the relationship running smoothly, and over time these responses can become a relatively permanent part of who we are (read more about this idea here). Thus, our romantic partners can “sculpt” us (and we can “sculpt” our partners) just as Michelangelo sculpted marble figures.
Recently, I wrote that dreaming about close people in your life can reveal aspects of your personality (specifically, attachment style). Highly insecure folks often have terrible dreams about their partners, because they expect their partners to behave badly and those expectations surface in dream content. But do people’s dreams predict their behavior after waking up? I’ll cut to the chase—the answer is yes.
Click here to read our posts about cheating and infidelity, and here and here for posts about exercise.
Joining a new social networking platform is a lot like starting a new relationship. It takes energy to build and a commitment to keep it going, but ultimately it can be very rewarding. We are happy to announce that we've embraced Google+ (in addition to Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Tumblr), giving you lots of ways to get your daily dose of relationship science.
If Google+ is your social networking platform of choice, connect with us here.
The key to decoding your relationship’s future could be sitting in your pocket right now. It’s not your wallet, or those breath mints, or that crumpled lottery ticket. It’s your cell phone.
Similar to how a runny nose and sore throat can quickly let us know we have a cold, the right kind of information about our romantic relationships can tell us a lot about their future potential. For example, researchers know that a couple’s level of love, commitment, and “positive illusions” are powerful predictors of future relationship success (see my last article here), whereas the number of fights couples have and their respective personality traits are surprisingly less important (see more here.). I call these “predictive elements” -- i.e., the punchy details that psychologists use to predict the quality or future outcome of relationships (basically, whether or not a couple will live happily ever after). Although we cannot rely on these elements to foresee the precise outcome of any particular relationship, it is safe to think of them as useful clues. Predictive elements are like the weather report from a station you trust. If they say there’s a 90% chance of rain, then you should probably pack an umbrella.
There’s something to be said about the “we-ness” of high-quality romantic relationships. When you think of your relationships in a plural sense (e.g., “We've been together for 6 years,” rather than "I've been with him/her for 6 years"), you sometimes start to define who you are (what psychologists call your self-concept) in terms of those relationships. By defining yourself in this way, you include aspects of your romantic partner in your self-concept. For example, you might take on some of your partner's characteristics, or see your partner's interests as your own (think about it – did you actually get into that eccentric rock band because you think they make great music...or was it because your partner liked them first?). In many studies, partners who define themselves in this pluralistic way tend to enjoy greater closeness, more commitment, and greater relationship satisfaction.1,2 In other words, the more you include your partner in your self-concept, the better your relationship is likely to be.
But is it always good when we include our partners in our selves?
Just when you thought you'd heard the last of the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, juicy new details about the events of 2011 have arisen: Apparently Mr. Weiner used the pseudonym "Carlos Danger" when sending pictures of Mr. Weiner.
What's your sexting pseudonym? A handy tool from Slate.com can help...
In case you need a reminder of what happened in 2011, here's our coverage, with articles authored by contributors "Alberto Stealth" and "Alfonso Distress," respectively:
- Gender, Politics, and the Science of Infidelity: Don’t Be a Weiner
- Reflections On Weinergate: What Do We Know About Cheating?
Read more about sexting here:
- Sexting and Relationship Development (by Aníbal Clandestine)
- “Sexting,” Anxious Attachment, and Relationship Expectations (by Benito Evil)
- Premature Sextaculation (by Leandro Dynamite)
I have been dating The Consultant for over a year now, and we have been discussing moving in together. Although over half of Americans cohabit before marriage for financial and convenience reasons,1 our consideration of “shacking up” without getting married is driven by our mutual negative past experiences with marriage. Because we never anticipate our living together to result in marriage, “husband and wife” labels will never accurately describe our relationship roles. As a result, we have been struggling with what to call each other. When we introduce each other to friends and colleagues, we use the “boyfriend/girlfriend” label, but these do not seem quite sufficient. In the past, “boyfriend” always ended up meaning someone who was transient, temporary, or not serious for me, and that is not how The Consultant and I are to each other at all.