Entries in growth (8)

Monday
Nov142016

A Sidekick for Self-Actualization: How Our Partners Make Us Great

Just as every superhero has a hardworking, lesser-known sidekick, behind our biggest successes is often someone who listened to us, encouraged us, and cared about us. In fact, our relationships with others can have a big but sometimes imperceptible impact on our ability to exercise our talents. In fact, “self-actualization” is what psychologists call the process of fulfilling one’s needs and eventually achieving one’s full potential. So for the heroes in all of us seeking to discover their calling and make the world a better place, what qualities are important in a lifelong sidekick to help us become self-actualized? 

One study of over 2000 married couples examined what makes a great sidekick by studying features of relationships that predict personal well-being.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct172016

Great Sexpectations? How Your Expectations About Maintaining Sexual Satisfaction Affect Your Relationship

“…find out if the sex is good right off the bat…”“Sex is the barometer for what’s going on in the relationship…” -- Samantha Jones, Sex and The City

“Practice makes perfect....we can work on it.” -- Charlotte York, Sex and The City 

 

Can we tell right away whether we will have great sex with a partner, or is great sex something we may need to work on? As the above quotes illustrate, people differ in their expectations about whether satisfying sex is something we can achieve by finding a compatible partner (Samantha), or whether it is something that might require effort (Charlotte). How might these different beliefs about sex shape how happy we are with our sex lives and our relationships?

To answer these questions, my colleagues and I first developed a measure of sexual expectations, or “sexpectations” if you will.1 We adapted to the sexual domain the broader relationship concepts of destiny beliefs—the belief in soulmates and natural compatibility, and the concept of growth—the belief that relationships take work.2,3,4,5 People high in sexual destiny beliefs more strongly agree with statements like “Struggles in a sexual relationship are a sure sign that the relationship will fail,” and “A couple is either destined to have a satisfying sex life or they are not.” People higher in sexual growth beliefs tend to agree with statements like “In order to maintain a good sexual relationship, a couple needs to exert time and energy.”

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb202015

Stronger Relationships Make For A Stronger You

One thing that relationship research has taught us is that good relationships are good for us. Many studies have demonstrated that solid relationships are associated with better health and longer life. In fact, having strong relationships is a better predictor of mortality than any other healthy lifestyle behavior.1 But why are relationships so beneficial? A new review of the research by Brooke Feeney and Nancy Collins2 unlocks the secrets of how good relationships help us flourish. 

According to Feeney and Collins, there are two ways for us to thrive in life: 1) successfully coping with adversity, and 2) pursuing personal goals and opportunities for growth. Strong relationships can help with both. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan212013

Are You “Relationship-Smart” (Enough)?

Have you ever had to admit on a first date that, among your many compelling and marvelous qualities, you are also a relationship counselor? I have. While this announcement can provoke a range of interesting responses, one I have often remembered was: 

“Really! How interesting. Does that make you any better at your own relationships?”

This particular guy wasn’t asking sarcastically; he was actually curious. I chuckled and stalled for time. On a gut level, I wanted to say yes…but was that true?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul172012

When Friends and Family Disapprove: Is There a “Romeo and Juliet Effect?"

I saw a fantastic symposium on what happens to people in romantic relationships when their friends and family disapprove. As Colleen Sinclair and others explained, findings from one classic study conducted in the 1970s showed that disapproval from parents can make a relationship even stronger. This finding was dubbed the “Romeo and Juliet Effect,” after Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers whose families were hated enemies (and thus, would not approve of their relationship).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun062011

Looking to Grow Elsewhere: Self-Expansion and Attention to Alternatives

In a previous post we talked about why celebrities cheat in their relationships. But what about the rest of the world? Why would they cheat? Certainly there are many things that contribute to relationship infidelity. One potential contributing factor is that one’s partner doesn’t provide enough new and exciting experiences within the relationship or what researchers call self-expansion.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May062011

Do You Believe in Soulmates? Is Love Like a Garden? Take the Quiz

A while back I answered a reader’s question about beliefs in soulmates, based on studies of "implicit theories of relationships." With this post I want to follow-up by describing the measure that's used to assess implicit theories and give readers a chance to score themselves on those items.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar142011

"Do You Pursue Love or Does It Pursue You?"

Amy asked “do you pursue love or does it pursue you? Do you think that people are in one of these two categories or is it ever changing in our lives?”

Dear Amy,

Great question; this is essentially getting at what researchers call “implicit theories of relationships.”1 What’s important is what you believe about relationships and love, not necessarily that there’s a one-size-fits-all prescription for relationships.

Click to read more ...