Entries in relationship quality (8)


Better Than You Think: The Impact of TV on Your Relationship

Television often gets a bad rap. If your mom was anything like mine, she often warned that if you sat too long in front of the TV it would “rot your brain.” TV’s potential for brain degradation aside, because watching TV is enjoyable, it feels natural to assume there is a catch. Something we clearly like so much must have detrimental effects, including hurting your relationship, right? Not so fast. A recent article from the Journal of Personal and Social Relationships challenges that assumption and tests whether watching TV with your partner could actually improve your relationship.

Click to read more ...


We Grow Older Together, But Lonely

Loneliness is a particularly negative psychological experience that is linked to poor physical health. Single people and those who live alone are susceptible to loneliness, as are those who have poor quality social relationships. In fact, even those who have long-term relationships, such as married people, can experience loneliness if their marriages are unfulfilling. What is it about a poor quality marriage that results in feelings of loneliness?

Click to read more ...


The Relationship is a Changin’: The Benefits Achieved When Partners Change Together

There is a well-worn saying, often mistakenly attributed to Albert Einstein, suggesting “women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not.”1 This statement may or may not be true, but highlights an interesting (and understudied) relationship dynamic: Change plays an important role in relationships. It is natural to wonder how long your relationship will last, whether you will fall out of love, whether you’ll have children and what they’ll be like, how your partner will be as a parent, whether you’ll get a divorce, etc. The common denominator in each of these inquiries is that you and your partner will experience your fair share of change along the way. But is this change good?

Click to read more ...


The Pornography Effect on Men and Their Romantic Relationships

Although many people do not realize it, the pornography industry is enormous. Widely hidden from view, it generates an estimated $13 billion dollars a year from within the United States alone, which is more annual revenue than Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, eBay and Netflix produce combined.1 

With its widespread availability, pornography is becoming what a lot of people want to call "normal." After all, it is just sex, so how can it be bad? A common refrain I hear about porn from the couples I counsel is women complaining how they don't like it, while their men say, "it's normal and every guy does it." So who's right? Maybe they both are.

Click to read more ...


Outside Looking In: Taking A Different View of Your Relationship

image source: startribune.comIt can be hard for partners to view their disagreements impartially. In a recent study, 120 married couples were tracked for over a year, during which their marital quality generally decreased.  After that year, half of the couples learned how to reappraise conflict by writing about their relationships from the viewpoint of an uninvolved, neutral third party, while the other half continued in their relationships without receiving any intervention. At the end of Year 2, the perspective-taking group did not experience additional declines in marital quality compared to the ‘normal’ group. These findings suggest that a bit of perspective-taking may go a long way.  

Finkel, E. J., Slotter, E. B., Luchies, L. B., Walton, G. M., & Gross, J. J. (2013). A brief intervention to promote conflict reappraisal preserves marital quality over time. Psychological Science, 24(8), 1595-1601.


The "Marriage Hack"

It seems like everywhere you turn, professionals are trying to make your life easier. Medical doctors discover breakthrough treatments for illnesses. Engineers design revolutionary new gadgets and devices. And psychologists devise simple and ingenious activities for couples to sustain their relationships.

For most married couples, satisfaction declines over time, meaning that couples typically become less and less happy with their relationships the longer they’ve been together. But a group of scientists developed an intervention that they have affectionately termed, “The Marriage Hack” (see the TED talk here), utilizing a technique they call emotional reappraisal. Emotional reappraisal occurs when couples re-evaluate their experiences by imagining how a neutral 3rd party (an unbiased person outside the couple) would view their behavior.

Click to read more ...


How Sleep Influences Your Relationship

How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up this morning feeling refreshed and energized, or were you fatigued and sluggish? Your answers to these questions may provide insight into how you will interact with your romantic partner today.

Click to read more ...


Break-up: It’s Not as Bad as You Think

image source: www.instructables.comCan you accurately predict how bad you’d feel if your relationship breaks up? To study this question, researchers asked undergraduates to predict how they’d feel if their current relationship ended. Then the research team tracked the undergraduates over several months and waited for those relationships to break-up. The researchers then asked the same participants how they actually felt now that their relationships were over. Turns out people overestimate how bad they will feel following a break-up, especially those who are in love. So if you’re staying in a relationship because you think the break-up will be awful and devastating, you should realize that it may not be so bad. This is especially true if you’re in a bad or abusive relationship (read more here).

Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Krishnamurti, T., & Loewenstein, G. (2008). Mispredicting distress following romantic breakup: Revealing the time course of the affective forecasting error. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 800-807. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2007.07.001