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Entries in self-disclosure (11)


Expressing Your Insecurities to Your Partner Can Actually Create More Insecurities. Here’s Why.

Insecurities: we’ve all got a few. They’re those intrusive thoughts people have about mistakes they might have made, flaws they might have, and negative opinions that others might have about them. Insecurities can be frustratingly persistent, and they can really interfere with close relationships1,2 (“You looked at that girl, I saw you looking!”). It’s not realistic to expect people to simply ignore these insecurities. So the question becomes: what is the healthiest way to deal with these nagging thoughts and feelings?

One seemingly obvious solution might be to reveal your insecurities to someone you’re close to—such as a friend or a romantic partner—so that this person could help you to feel better. However, recent research has revealed a way that this approach can sometimes fail to work, and can even backfire.

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Intimacy and Passion Go Together Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

image source: laineyslifelessons.blogspot.comIntimacy and passion are two key components of a high-quality relationship. But to what extent are intimacy and passion intertwined? In a recent study, couples reported on their feelings of intimacy (e.g., how much they self-disclosed and felt close to one another) and passion in their relationships each day for three weeks. They also noted whether they had sex each day and if that sex was satisfying. Increases in intimacy over time were associated with higher passion, as well as more frequent and better sex. 

Rubin, H., & Campbell, L. (2012). Day-to-day changes in intimacy predict heightened relationship passion, sexual occurrence, and sexual satisfaction: A dyadic diary analysis. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 224-231.


To Self-Disclose or Not to Self-Disclose? Relationship Matters Podcast #20

In the 20th installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Sue Sprecher (Illinois State University) and Stanislov Treger (DePaul University) talk about their work on self-disclosure during first encounters with strangers. Specifically, the researchers designed a series of experiments to determine whether people enjoy interacting with, and like, a stranger more when those people talk about themselves versus listen to the stranger do all the talking.

To test this question, Sprecher and Treger randomly assigned people to either talk to a stranger or listen to a stranger talk for 12 minutes. What did they find? Listeners, compared to talkers, were happier with the interaction, liked the stranger better, and felt closer to the stranger.

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Two Can Keep a Secret (If One of Them Is Dead)

If you missed the first post in this series about family secrets, Got a Secret, Can You Keep It?, check it out here.

People often claim, “My partner knows me inside and out.” Sure, in our close relationships, we’d like to think we know the person with whom we share our bed, our meals, and our time. But is it necessary to know absolutely everything about your significant other? And if you have a few skeletons yourself that you’d like to keep in the proverbial closet, how far would you go to keep them there? On the mystery-thriller TV series Pretty Little Liars, some of the characters resort to murder to keep their secrets safe.

When we’re the ones hiding negative parts of ourselves from others, it may come naturally to protect our images rather than seem dishonest or hurtful.

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How to Make “Couple Friends” (and Why You Should)

Social interactions of all flavors are important, and even your relationships need other relationships to keep things interesting. You might have a perfectly satisfying romantic relationship with your partner, but you might want to get some “couple friends” too (see this article at How do friendships between couples develop, and are they important for your own romantic relationship?

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Was Barack Obama “Avoidant” in His Youth?

A newly released biography of Barack Obama by David Maraniss has drawn attention (see coverage here and here) to the president’s past. There’s nothing necessarily scandalous in the book, but it does focus on the relationships Obama had before he met Michelle. As a relationship scientist, this is a really cool (and rare) glimpse into Obama’s romantic life through the stories of young women who shared intimate moments with him.

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Check Your Baggage at the Gate

I’ve got some baggage. I don’t know anyone at my age and “experience” who doesn’t. Multiple marriages, children, a few crazy exes…I have done the inventory and know what I bring on board as I get back on the dating train. So how can I manage a good dating impression and lug around an oversized Samsonite full of my past experiences?

Some people have an easy time hiding their baggage in an overhead compartment or under their seat during the first few dates, however my baggage is not so easy to conceal.

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Debbie Downers: Disclosing Positive Events to Low Self-Esteem Others

Have you ever wanted to share good news with friends but were afraid they would rain on your parade because they’re downers? Researchers recently discovered that people avoid disclosing positive information to low self-esteem friends and romantic partners in order to avoid a negative interaction (e.g., the “downer” pointing out the downside). Interestingly, we don’t keep the good news to ourselves to protect our close others’ feelings – we primarily focus on our own outcomes!

MacGregor, J. C. D., & Holmes, J. G. (2011). Rain on my parade: Perceiving low self-esteem in close others hinders positive self-disclosure. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 523-530.


Wanna Snag a Man? Don't Follow "The Rules"

The authors of the popular self-help book The Rules claim they can help women capture a perfect man and lure him into marriage. All you have to do is follow a list of relatively simple rules, which essentially equate to playing hard to get. The Rules was an overnight best-seller, and has since become something of a mantra for thousands of dating women – or “Rules Girls” – to live by. Clearly, this relationship advice is wildly popular. But, is it scientifically sound?

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"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.

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Why Would Someone Snoop on Their Partner?

When relationship partners are reluctant to reveal information or discuss their thoughts and feelings, people may be more likely to snoop on them by doing things like checking their pockets or reading through their text messages. This is especially true if the 'future snooper' has low levels of trust.

Vinkers, C., Finkenauer, C., & Hawk, S. (2011). Why do close partners snoop? Predictors of intrusive behavior in newlywed couples. Personal Relationships, 18, 110-124.