Entries in idealization (9)


Is This the Best Way to Deal with Your Partner’s Faults?

Committing your life to another person is a big step. How can you feel comfortable taking that risk, committing yourself to a partner you know is flawed? To overcome those insecurities, it's sometimes best to hold some “positive illusions” about your partner, even if they’re not accurate.

Past research has shown that couples are more satisfied when both members of the couple view each another in an overly positive manner.1 In a survey, they asked couples to evaluate themselves and their partners on a series of personality traits and found that the most satisfied people rated their partners more positively than the partners rated themselves. The researchers argued that these “positive illusions” allow us to deal with the inevitable doubts and conflicts that surface in a relationship, by building up a store of good will. 

That doesn’t mean that love is blind. These happy couples are not wearing blinders, but rather rose-colored glasses. They notice their partners’ flaws, but find ways to minimize the importance of those flaws and to accentuate their partners' assets.

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The Dangers of Putting Your Partner on a Pedestal: Relationship Matters Podcast 27

In the 27th installment of SAGE's Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Jennifer Tomlinson of Colgate University discusses the pros and cons of idealizing our partners.

In collaboration with Art Aron (Stony Brook University), Cheryl Carmichael (Brooklyn College), Harry Reis (University of Rochester), and John Holmes (University of Waterloo), the research team set out to test the idea that although idealizing partners is good to some degree, over-idealizing partners could have negative consequences as well.  

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Self-Righteous Singles and Smug Married Couples: Why People Think Their Own Lifestyle is the Best

The motto “live and let live” sounds great in theory, but many people find it difficult to carry out in practice. Instead, people tend to think that their own lifestyle is totally awesome and that other people should make the same decisions that they have made.

Relationship decisions in particular can be an easy target for judgment. For example, you may know a single person who derides their friends for pairing up, questioning why anyone would choose to shackle themselves to one partner rather than “live it up” with the single life. Or you may know that smug married couple who pushes for other couples to also tie the knot, so they can similarly bask in wedded bliss.

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And For My Next Trick: The Magical Effects of Positive Illusions About Romantic Partners

Think about the last time you had a crush. What did it feel like? Chances are this experience involved overwhelming feelings of passion, confusion and excitement. Relationship researchers often refer to this experience as passionate love,1 or “Eros.”2 When someone is in this state of crush, thoughts about their partner (or desired partner) dominate their mind. Further, a person often thinks about their crush in highly idealized ways; their partner is the most beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate person in the world, and there is simply no way you can convince the crush-er otherwise.

Although common when someone is crushing, these idealizations—called positive illusions3—can occur at any relationship stage.

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It's Back! New Season of The Bachelor Starts Tonight

The season premiere of The Bachelor, featuring the rejected Ben Flajnik from last season's The Bachelorette, airs tonight on ABC. Ben's getting a second chance, so we're doing the same for a post from our archives. Click the link below to read SofR's featured columnist Dr. Amy Muise's empirical analysis of how shows like The Bachelor could impact your own romanic pursuits. 

Is Watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette Bad For Your Relationship?


Ask Dr. Loving: Are Long-Distance Relationships Rewarding?

"DX" asked the following question: I'm wondering if there are any studies about long distance relationships? There's just so much knowledge I believe to be gained from focusing on such a very difficult but highly rewarding relationship type.

Dear DX-- You are exactly right; there's a lot to be learned by looking at the dynamics of long-distance relationships (or what those of us in the business affectionately refer to as "LDRs"). Fortunately, researchers have not neglected this common relationship context. Please see our previous posts by SofR contributor Dr. Bevan (see here and here).

Additionally, below I've pasted an excerpt from our forthcoming book, where I answer the question: Is distance bad for relationships?

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Is Watching The Bachelorette Bad for Your Relationship?

Here for the right reasons

Last chance at love

Sent home broken-hearted

If you recognize these phrases, you, like me, are guilty of watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Recently, one of our readers was curious about how pop culture influences relationships. The current season of The Bachelorette provides a great case study to answer this question. Is watching relationship “reality” TV like The Bachelorette bad for your real life relationships?

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Test Your Relationship IQ: Question #1 (Answers Edition) - The Power of Positive Illusions

Last week as part of our "Test Your Relationship IQ" series, we asked readers:

The Question: Holding an inflated view of your partner leads to disappointment and is bad for your relationship.

The Breakdown:  27% of readers answered True, 63% answered False

The Answer:  If you're dying to know, the answer is at the end. Otherwise a bit of explanation first...

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Rose-Colored Glasses and Relationship Satisfaction

Research by Dr. Sandra Murray and colleagues, appearing in Psychological Science (April 2011), indicates that those who idealize their partners don't show a decline in satisfaction during their first three years of marriage. Click here for the Scientific American podcast about this work and here for the writeup on businessweek.com.