Entries in self and identity (10)

Wednesday
Jul242013

Too Close for Comfort? The Potential Pitfalls of “You + Me = We”

There’s something to be said about the “we-ness” of high-quality romantic relationships. When you think of your relationships in a plural sense (e.g., “We've been together for 6 years,” rather than "I've been with him/her for 6 years"), you sometimes start to define who you are (what psychologists call your self-concept) in terms of those relationships. By defining yourself in this way, you include aspects of your romantic partner in your self-concept. For example, you might take on some of your partner's characteristics, or see your partner's interests as your own (think about it – did you actually get into that eccentric rock band because you think they make great music...or was it because your partner liked them first?). In many studies, partners who define themselves in this pluralistic way tend to enjoy greater closeness, more commitment, and greater relationship satisfaction.1,2 In other words, the more you include your partner in your self-concept, the better your relationship is likely to be.

But is it always good when we include our partners in our selves? 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr052013

Tag, We’re It: How Facebook Reveals Information about Current (and Past) Relationships

You know those people on Facebook who tag their romantic partners in every…single…post? Or how about the people whose uploaded photos almost always contain their partners? If you’re anything like me, you may find it somewhat annoying, but these kinds of behaviors convey important information about couples’ relationships.

Previously, we have discussed how romantic partners’ senses of self gradually begin merging together and overlap with one another. In other words, we begin to take on some of our romantic partner’s aspects into our sense of who we are (e.g., you may find that you have picked up interests or hobbies that your partner introduced you to), and we begin to talk more in terms of “us” and “we” than “me” and “him/her”. In a recent study, researchers surveyed 276 individuals (mostly college students) about various aspects of their romantic relationships, including the degree of self-partner overlap and the content of their Facebook profiles.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb122013

Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts: Do They Hurt Your Relationship?

Now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, you may be worried about picking out the perfect gift for your partner. Is it something he will like? Will she be disappointed by your efforts? And how is a partner’s response to your Valentine's Day gift related to thoughts about the future of your relationship?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan252013

It’s the End of My Dating World as I Know It, and I Feel Fine

I once had a (very brave) student ask me if I was familiar with the old saying about teachers. You know the one, it goes a little something like…Those who can’t do, teach. I begrudgingly admitted having heard the saying. Before I could even begin mounting a defense or rebuttal, she continued on with her playful, but oddly poignant, musing: “And Dr. Leder, you teach about relationships. What does that say about you?” Ouch. I put on a brave face and bantered back about how it made me the master of her classroom destiny for that semester. However, her off-hand teasing really got me thinking. Upon reflection, I realized that her jesting about my relationship prowess was surprisingly insightful.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct032012

You Are Who You Date 

It’s no secret that people like to see themselves positively. Decades of research indicates that people go to great lengths to accentuate their positive qualities and downplay their flaws. But what happens when an attractive potential partner has those flaws? In a recent pair of studies published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers Erica Slotter and Wendi Gardner hypothesized that when people are attracted to flawed potential partners, their romantic desires may motivate them to adopt those flaws themselves. The authors cited the example of Sandy Olsson from Grease, who (spoiler alert?) decides to give up her squeaky clean, goodie-two-shoes image in an effort to win over her “greaser” love interest, Danny Zuko.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr112012

I Do, or Do Not, Take Your Name in Marriage

After getting engaged, there are practically a million decisions for brides-to-be to make. You need to pick a dress, a wedding singer, and decide on a honeymoon destination. Amidst all of these decisions, you also have to make what may be the most important decision of all (next to saying ‘yes’, of course): whether you will take your husband’s last name in place of your own. The decision is not trivial. Sure, a change in name necessitates a change in driver’s license, credit cards, passport, and even your signature, but it may also influence your self-concept (you know, that part of yourself that tells you who you are).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov212011

“Me” and “You” and “Us”: I’m Confused

Can couple members be so close to one another that their individual identities merge into one? We might think of couples, like “TomKat” (Tom Cruise + Katie Holmes) and “Beyon-Z” (Beyonce + Jay-Z…yep, you heard that one here first), as a single unit, but do they think about themselves that way? 

They do if they’re committed to their relationships. More committed people think of themselves as being a part of a single unit that includes their partners.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov012011

A Time to Cheat: How Situations Promote Infidelity

As any good social scientist will tell you, a person’s surroundings and environment have powerful influences on behavior. To assume that there are only cheaters and non-cheaters in the world is an oversimplification. Instead, there are situations where infidelity is more likely to occur. For example, the stress one experiences from a long day at school or at work could increase the chances of being unfaithful.  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May042011

"How Do You Define Intimacy?"

A reader asked: How do you define intimacy?

This seems straightforward. I mean, we could just crack open the old Webster's Dictionary and look it up. For relationship researchers, the answer is a little more complex. In fact, it could (and has) fill an entire book. Of the many ways to define intimacy, I'll focus this post on “closeness” which is oftentimes considered synonymously with intimacy.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar022011

Ask Dr. Loving: Should We Stay Friends after a Breakup?

(reposted from drloving.net)

Dear Dr. Loving;

I am in the middle of healing and attempting on moving on right now. My boyfriend and I broke up last October, but we only decided to really move on this December. Now, we still see each other and are just now "friends" or "best friends" We text each other everyday (I text him and he replies) and we see each other and hang out or study at least 3-4 times a week. We celebrated his birthday together last week, just me and him. He still gives me a hug after we hang out when I ask him to hug me. Basically, we're still part of each other's lives except we're just simply "close friends."

 Now my question is, do those signs show that he still likes me or is he just doing that because he's a guy? and is this kind of relationship healthy for me? I don't know whether I should really avoid him or just go with the flow with whatever we have. I honestly still want to get back with him, but bringing that up to him always irritates him. He said he doesn't have "time" to be in a relationship anymore. I am not sure whether there's no chance of us getting back together and I'm just fooling myself. -- Conflicted

Dear C;

Let’s start with your second question: No, this kind of relationship is not healthy for you.

Click to read more ...