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Wednesday
Oct312012

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday
Oct312012

“Stay Close to Me” – Attachment, Terror Management, and Symbolic Immortality in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I recently watched the last film in the Harry Potter series on DVD (after seeing it twice in theaters last year; yes I’m a huge fan), and I was reminded of a powerful moment near the end of the story that highlights the connection between close relationships and the metaphysical world (e.g., life/death, spirituality).

(Fair warning before reading further: there are plot spoilers below).

Towards the end of Deathly Hallows, Harry realized that he must die in order to conquer Voldemort once and for all (it was necessary for Harry to die because his body contained a piece of Voldemort’s soul, which must be destroyed). At that moment, Harry experienced an awareness of his own looming death, or what social psychologists refer to as “mortality salience.”

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct302012

Dr. Gurit Birnbaum on Love, Sex, and Death

Our friend and colleague Dr. Gurit Birnbaum recently contributed to a discussion on the New York Times website on the topic of sexy Halloween costumes and fear of death. Check it out here.

We've covered Dr. Birnbaum's research in the following articles: 

Tuesday
Oct302012

Battle of the Bulge: When Your Partner Is Fatter or Thinner Than You Are

To determine how partners’ relative body weights affect their relationships, researchers collected data from couples of varying girth profiles (e.g., both healthy weight, both overweight, or mismatched weights). Couples responded about their daily conflict and the frequency with which they ate meals (and, presumably, Cheetos) together. Couples with an overweight woman and healthy-weight man experienced the greatest level of conflict; overweight male - healthy female couples had the lowest levels of conflict. Importantly, mismatched-weight couples who ate together more frequently reported more conflict, regardless of which partner was overweight (apparently, it’s a lot easier to be critical if you see what your partner eats).

Burke, T. J., Randall, A. K., Corkery, S. A., Young, V. J., & Butler, E. A. (in press, 2012). “You’re going to eat that?” Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407512451199

Monday
Oct292012

Help! My Wife is Taking Away Everything I Love

Q: My wife and I met three years ago. We have one child together, but we both have children from a previous marriage. Since getting married 2 years ago, my wife has been trying to get me to quit all the activities I have enjoyed my whole life. It started with asking me to cut down baseball in the summer from the weekends to one day a week. I was OK with that. Then it was hunting...she wanted me to give up the only weekend that I hunt all year long for deer opening. Last month she asked me to pick between baseball or bowling. I like bowling because I am in a league with my father, brother and friends. I told her to pick which she wants me to do. She said no. She wanted me to pick. I decided to stay doing baseball once a week, and have gave up all other activities. 

And now she wants me to quit all of them. I feel she is working me little by little to get me to do what she wants. The interests my wife and I have are very different from one another. She doesn’t like the things I do (baseball, hunting, bowling), but I don’t mind her doing the things she enjoys. I just feel when she is asking me to give up all the things I enjoy, she is taking away the time I need to unwind.

Am I being selfish by wanting to play baseball one day out of each weekend during the summer, and bowl (during the work week not weekends) in one league during the winter, and either bow or rifle hunt for deer (her choice)?

A: My answer is no, you are not being selfish. Taking part in activities that you have enjoyed your whole life with people you care about (e.g., friends, family) is important for your psychological and physical health.1 Self-expansion theory proposes that people have a basic need to expand their sense of self, and this can be done one of two ways: through novel or exciting activities like sports or intellectual pursuits, or by including another person into your own self-concept, such as seeing your wife as part of you.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct282012

If Men Wrote Advice Columns...

Although we're not huge believers in big differences betweeen men and women (see here for more), this was too funny not to post.

(original source unknown)

Saturday
Oct272012

Week in Review: 21 - 27 October 2012

Saturday
Oct272012

Are You In The "Friend Zone"?

Friday
Oct262012

Let's Talk About Sex...During Sex

 “Oh yeah, that’s it, right there”

“That feels good”

“Don’t stop”

Moaning, groaning, and words of encouragement during sex enhance your partner’s sexual pleasure and a recent study suggests that talking during sex is also linked to your own satisfaction. People who communicate their likes and dislikes to their partners during sex are more sexually satisfied.

Talking about your sexual needs and desires is not always easy; many people feel that having sex is easier than talking about sex.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct252012

Obama vs. Romney: How Politics Influence Sexual Desire

Obviously, many variables affect the decision to have or not have sexual intercourse (e.g., Are you in the “mood?” Did you have a romantic dinner? Did he remember the flowers?). Although most people probably don’t think the outcome of a political election is especially romantic, or has much effect on their libidos, recent research suggests that political elections could influence your sex life!  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct242012

Stranded In Barcelona: The Ups and Downs of Passion

A few years ago, I fell madly in love with a guy shortly before he left for a study abroad program in Barcelona. So I did what any rational person in my position would do: I made plans to stay with him for a month, bought a plane ticket, and spent every possible moment chatting with him via Skype until my long-awaited departure. We both grew increasingly excited about my arrival, and when I finally showed up at the front door of his hostel, things were, well, intense (in a can’t-keep-our-hands-to-ourselves kind of way). Things continued this way for a couple of days. But soon we realized that we didn’t have as much to say to each other as we thought we did, and the passion quickly dissipated. Within a week of my arrival, he dumped me, and I found myself stranded in Barcelona. (If that’s not the title of a country song, it should be). 

So, what happened? Where did all of that passion go?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct232012

How Can I Tell If My Partner Is Cheating?

In order to determine whether your partner is cheating, you first have to define what “cheating” means to you. On the surface, this doesn’t seem difficult—cheating is cheating, right? It’s one of those things that you just know it when you see it (or hear about it from a friend that saw your partner doing it). Well, let’s see just how absolute cheating is. Is having sexual intercourse with someone other than your partner cheating? YES! Maybe this game is easy. (Though it wouldn't be cheating if your partner said it was okay) What if your partner has conversations with someone at work, but doesn’t tell you? Hmm. What if you have a crush where you fantasize about someone else when you’re with your partner? Is flirting cheating? What about going to a strip club? What about Hooters? What about accepting a friend invitation from an ex-partner on Facebook? What about sexting?

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Monday
Oct222012

If You’re In A Relationship, Is It OK To Browse Hookup Sites For “Innocent Flirting” And “Harmless” Fun?

BC submitted the following question:

Have you written much on gay hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc)? I just had a lengthy discussion with my cousin on Facebook after posting my criticism of Dan Savage's latest Savage Love. In it, Savage wrote that a gay man can have a hookup app on his phone while in an exclusive relationship and just use it for chatting with friends and innocent flirting. Why would someone be active on a hookup app and, if confronted with a hot guy to hookup with, not actually hook up with them?

Dear BC;

This is a great question! Although I am not aware of any studies specifically examining how use of hookup applications impacts people’s relationships, there is plenty of research to suggest that bringing these applications into a monogamous relationship could potentially lead to trouble down the road. Thus, I don’t fully agree with Savage’s take that engaging in such behavior is completely innocent.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct212012

Things You Should Have Learned In School: Correlation ≠ Causation

See some examples of correlation ≠ causation here.

Sunday
Oct212012

Sexuality Is Complicated...So Here's A Summary

Saturday
Oct202012

Week in Review: 14 - 20 October 2012

Friday
Oct192012

Match Me if You Can: Lack of Matching Between Partners Predicts Divorce

Let’s play a quick game. What do all of these celebrity couples have in common?: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries; Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony; Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher; Heidi Klum and Seal; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. If you said divorced, you’d be correct (we would have also accepted “lack of talent” as a correct answer). These couples are just a few among the many who had a marriage that didn’t survive, and some, like Kim and Kris, had barely left the wedding chapel by the time they were divorced! (Clearly, they didn’t think this one through before having a multi-million dollar wedding!). 

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Thursday
Oct182012

Fighting with an Ex-Husband Harms Mother-Child Relationships

High conflict with an ex-husband spills over negatively onto women’s relationships with their children. In a recent survey of a random sample of 1,239 divorced mothers, conflict with an ex-husband was associated with increased feelings of parental stress -- the greater the conflict, the more mothers felt their children were challenging to deal with (acting out, tantrums, etc.). This stress reduced the quality of mother-child interactions. The researchers proposed that mediated communication between ex-spouses, such as with a lawyer or psychologist, could help alleviate some of this conflict and improve family relations.

Hakvoort, E. M., Bos, H. M. W., Van Balen, F., & Hermanns, J. M. A. (2012). Spillover between mothers’ postdivorce relationships: The mediating role of parenting stress. Personal Relationships, 19, 247-254.

image source: parentdish.co.uk

Wednesday
Oct172012

The Politics of Love

(click to embiggen)When looking for partners, we are attracted to others who are similar to us. Whether the similarity lies in personality, values, or political views, individuals tend to seek those with ideals comparable to their own. However, in a recent survey of college students, the majority indicated they’d be willing to date someone with a political affiliation different than their own.1 Yet this willingness may not result in stable relationships. In fact, relationships between partners who share political ideologies last more than twice as long when partners hold opposing ideologies (5.83 years vs. 2.30 years). When researchers asked heterosexual couples about their political values at the onset of their relationships and then again after 11 months, those who were still dating after 11 months had more similar political attitudes than those who had broken up.2 Perhaps as a result, research also finds that online daters are reluctant to reveal their political affiliation.3 Taken together, these studies suggest that people may be willing to date someone with different views, but they may also conceal their own political views to avoid scaring off a potential mate.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct152012

1.3 Billion People Can't Be Wrong About Relationship Science


We're excited to announce that Guokr Media will be translating and distributing our articles in Chinese. Welcome to all of our new friends in China!