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Entries in growth (6)


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. 

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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?

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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).

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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.

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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.

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"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.

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