Entries in implicit theories (4)

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.”

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Monday
Feb182013

Relationship Beliefs Can Lead to Unrealistic Expectations of Romantic Partners

Even people in the happiest relationships tend to have some things that they wish they could change about their partners: habits they wish their partners would break, skills they wish their partners would hone, or personality traits they wish their partners would work on. But can a partner ever really change?

Well, yes, they can, with a great deal of hard work, and there will usually be some setbacks along the way.1 But what seems to be particularly important for people’s relationships is whether or not people think their partners can change.

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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.

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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.

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