Friday
Apr262013

Facebook and Relationship Development: It’s Complicated (Part 2)

Part 1 of this article described a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships investigating how Facebook has become an important part of the development of romantic relationships. In particular, although young adults don’t view Facebook as a dating site per se, it is used as a way to get to know potential partners better and gauge romantic interest. But beyond these initial interactions, Facebook is important as relationships progress.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr252013

Dear John Gray, Please Read This

Are men and women really that different from one another? Despite what many believe, and what some alleged experts might tell you, women and men are more similar than they are different on most meaningful psychological dimensions. New research by Drs. Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis highlight these similarities well. Read more here and here.

Check out Dr. Amy Muise's post on this topic here.

Wednesday
Apr242013

Is “Playing Hard To Get” A Good Dating Strategy?

Master manipulators know that the way to get people to part with their money is to create an illusion of scarcity. In other words, if you want people clamoring for whatever it is you’re selling, tell people they can’t have it (“Act now! Quantities are limited!”). Next thing you know, they’ll be lining up to pay you even more than you were originally asking! So does the same thing work when it comes to finding a date? Can you enhance your desirability by making yourself less available? A new set of studies suggests that you can.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr232013

It's Easy To Have More Sex In Your Relationship

A new study by Science of Relationships contributor Dr. Amy Muise and colleagues on keeping the sexual spark alive in long-term relationships was recently published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Read more about this research at The Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and check out Amy's articles on ScienceOfRelationships.com.

Monday
Apr222013

Is It Okay To Have A Crush On Someone Who Isn't Your Significant Other?

Is it okay for people to be attracted to others while in a committed relationship? Is it normal? Someone told me "if you're in a relationship and attracted to someone else, then there is something missing in your relationship and you shouldn't be committed in the first place." Is that true? I've always thought that attraction is normal and unavoidable, and crushes are harmless if not acted on. So, is it normal to have a crush on someone who isn't your significant other?

A: Your question raises several different issues worth considering, so let’s take them one at a time:

1) Is being “attracted to others while in a committed relationship… normal and unavoidable?”

Actually, yes, there is reason to think that being attracted to others is unavoidable. When we look at another person our brain very quickly processes the visual information our eyes see, and we nearly instantaneously make a judgment concerning the other person’s attractiveness.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr212013

Assembling IKEA Furniture: The True Test of a Relationship

There are a lot of ways to put a relationship to the test...add allen wrenches and vague directions to the list. 

To learn more about relationship stress, click here. 

Saturday
Apr202013

There's Even an App For That

Our friends at Durex (the condom company) have been hard at work. Check out their newest innovation, "Fundawear," below (warning: the first video is borderline NSFW).

What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr192013

Facebook and Relationship Development: It’s Complicated (Part 1)

Whether you like it or not, Facebook has become a central part of young people’s lives: about 75% of adolescents and young adults (aged 12-24) in the United States are active users of Facebook.1 As an important part of their day-to-day social interactions, Facebook reflects and plays a critical role in the development of young people’s romantic relationships. The importance of Facebook is illustrated by a recent paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,2 which employed in-depth interviews and focus groups with 55 college students to gather their thoughts about Facebook’s role in relationship development. College students are typically heavy users of Facebook; this sample of students reported spending, on average, nearly 2.5 hours actively using Facebook each day (which is similar to the frequency reported in other studies).3 

Based on these interviews, the researchers identified three themes that are relevant at different points of relationship development:

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr182013

Here Comes the Sun: How the Weather Affects Your Pick-Up Attempts 

“Hello. I think you’re really pretty, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number.” How would you respond to this request? If you’re a woman, your response may depend on the weather. French researchers found that undergraduate women responded more favorably to a male’s request for their phone number on sunny days compared to identical requests made on cloudy days. Importantly, the temperature and perceived attractiveness of the male did not influence phone number giving behavior. Is sunshine the hidden secret to women’s receptivity? Probably not. It’s more likely that anything that puts women in a positive mood will increase the likelihood of giving out their phone number.

Guéguen, N. (2013). Weather and courtship behavior: A quasi-experiment with the flirty sunshine. Social Influence, doi:10.1080/15534510.2012.752401

Wednesday
Apr172013

Four Steps to a Happy Relationship, According to Ethiopian Men

Michelle Kaufman is a researcher who focuses on sexual behavior in the developing world. She globe trots regularly, engaging in ethnographic work all along the way in order to inform both the quantitative and qualitative research she conducts. Recently, Michelle visited Ethiopia and attempted to find out the secrets to a good relationship.

On a recent trip to Ethiopia, I asked the same question of many men, some single and dating, some young and newly married, and some older men in committed relationships for many years: What makes a relationship successful?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr162013

Is There Really a Benefit to Being Nice to Others? Relationship Matters Podcast #21

In the 21st installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Bonnie Le (a graduate student in Dr. Emily Impett's lab at the Univ. of Toronto) talks about the personal and interpersonal effects of having a communal orientation.

Communally oriented people care for the welfare and needs of others, and want others to care for them in return. Ms. Le explained, “In a communal orientation… we give because of need, we give because we care about the well being of other people. And so you don’t necessarily expect something in return when you’re giving help or care in a communal relationship or when you have a communal orientation, but you do expect that people will behave the same in return [eventually].”

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr152013

Can a Toxic Relationship Make Me Toxic Too?

My brother is married to a passive aggressive woman and he is very unhappy in his relationship. I have a friend who just got engaged to a passive-aggressive woman. Both my friend and my brother have developed quite a few negative personality traits that make me not want to be around or even talk to them. Do you think it's their true natures coming out (ages 35-40) or the result of relationships with passive aggressive women?

Great question! I am sorry that you are having a difficult time being around your friend and brother right now. Passive-aggressive behaviors, which are hostile and resistant actions that a person expresses in very subtle or indirect ways, are not fun to experience. For example, your sister-in-law might give your brother the “cold shoulder” to show she is angry and defiant rather than telling him about the real reason she is she upset about something. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr142013

First World Problems...

Saturday
Apr132013

Throw Your Relationship a Bone

Saturday
Apr132013

Does Size Matter to Women?

In their coverage of a recent study, NationalGeographic.com concluded that "women prefer larger penises." Is their conclusion of the research accurate? In the actual study, women rated silhouettes of men with larger penises as "more attractive." But does that mean that they actually prefer well-endowed men as relationship or sexual partners? What do you think?

See our article by Dr. Amy Muise on this topic here, and a recent post about this study by by Dr. Justin Lehmiller here.

Friday
Apr122013

Here’s the Punchline: The Link between Humor and Hotness 

Chad Michael Murray, the actor from One Tree Hill, once said, “To all the girls out there who think being funny is not sexy, you are wrong!” Not only has a point, but there is some research to back him up. Two guys walk into a bar… and according to research, whomever women consider funnier will also be seen as more attractive and suitable for a long-term relationship.1 Having a funny partner may simply make them more fun to be around, but it is also possible that a good sense of humor indicates that a person has advanced language skills, creativity, abstract thinking, and intelligence.2 Put another way, a quick wit may signal the quality of a potential partner’s genetic make-up, which can lead that person to appear more attractive. Then again, maybe attractive people are more likely to be naturally funny, or are more likely to be perceived by others as funny. Recent research delves deeper into these issues to answer two key questions: Is being funny more attractive for short-term or long-term relationships? Does physical attractiveness influence ratings of funniness?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr112013

Why Men Shouldn't Do Housework

Check out this article from Slate "Guys Who Do Housework Get Less Sex." The article shares a study that directly contradicts the common sense notion that women want men to do housework and find it sexy.

Our colleague and ScienceOfRelationships.com contributor Dr. Justin Lehmiller also wrote about this research on his blog (click here to check it out).

Wednesday
Apr102013

Understanding ‘The Price of Marriage in China’

The New York Times recently covered two very different match-making stories that unfolded in Beijing (read the article here). In one, a wealthy bachelor nicknamed “Mr. Big” paid more than half a million dollars for a squad of “love hunters” to scour the country looking for his vision of the ideal wife: a milky-skinned virgin eighteen years his junior. In the second, Ms. Yu, the desperate mother of an unmarried forty-year-old man, spent her days making fruitless trips to the local match-making park. (Yes, there really are parks for parents to meet other parents and set their mutual children up on blind dates—more on this below.) She had been searching for a daughter-in-law for four years, but her son’s “pickiness” and meager financial prospects quashed every lead she could generate.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr092013

To Self-Disclose or Not to Self-Disclose? Relationship Matters Podcast #20

In the 20th installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Sue Sprecher (Illinois State University) and Stanislov Treger (DePaul University) talk about their work on self-disclosure during first encounters with strangers. Specifically, the researchers designed a series of experiments to determine whether people enjoy interacting with, and like, a stranger more when those people talk about themselves versus listen to the stranger do all the talking.

To test this question, Sprecher and Treger randomly assigned people to either talk to a stranger or listen to a stranger talk for 12 minutes. What did they find? Listeners, compared to talkers, were happier with the interaction, liked the stranger better, and felt closer to the stranger.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr082013

Can't We Just Enjoy the Limited Time We Have Left in Our Relationship?

My girlfriend of 10 months just broke up with me a few days ago. This has been her longest relationship. She had never lasted longer than 3 months with anyone prior because she is an independent girl and is afraid of commitment. For whatever reason, our relationship is different. We fell in love with each other and have had our ups and downs. However, the ever looming fact that we are both about to graduate from college this May and going to different states afterwards has been her main concern.

She claims that she has not felt the same about me lately and that she is tired of fighting for something that is going to end. This is not the first time she has broken up with me because of this, but it is definitely more serious and evident this time around. She says that I love her more than she loves me and that she now only loves me as a friend. The decision to break up was purely hers and now I am heart broken.

I plan on waiting a couple of weeks with no contact with her. If she does not break silence, then I'd like to at least meet up one more time to see if she might have reconsidered and if we can at least spend the rest of the semester together and make the best of it. I just want to be with her and not waste what we have together.

I am really sorry to hear about your heart being broken. It is always hard to end relationships, especially when you had already accepted that your time together was limited to begin with. Based on the information you provided, it sounds as if your ex-girlfriend has a very avoidant attachment style.

Click to read more ...