What do you think are the keys to a successful relationship? Is it mutual respect and understanding? Or is it honesty?
A study by researchers at the University of Arizona states that one of the keys to a successful relationship compromise and cooperation. The study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
For the study, researchers observed 44 straight couples, where they were asked to indulge in a mundane conversation about their shared lifestyle with respect to health and diet, and their emotional responses gauged. Study authors concluded that a man tends to mirror a woman’s emotional response so as to appease her, and a woman, on the other hand, tends to sway in the opposite direction. In essence, if the man is feeling more negative, she will tend to be less negative, and vice versa.
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The researchers asked the couples to watch a videotape of themselves having a conversation about their dietary lifestyles and to provide feedback on how they were feeling, with the use of a rating dial. Researchers then analyzed the videos as well as their responses given through the rating dial.
To illustrate this finding, researchers cite the classic fitting room scenario: a woman is trying on dresses and models each one to her partner. To appease his partner and to make quick work of the shopping expedition, the man may declare that he likes the new dress. Instead of taking her partner’s opinion at face value, she is unsatisfied with his response and therefore, likely to try on more dresses.
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The findings of this study support and existing body of research and anecdotal evidence, that men primarily cooperate to avoid conflict. On the other hand, women serve as ‘emotional regulators’ during cooperation, and tend to go to the root of the problem than brushing it off under the rug.
Ashley Randall, the lead author of the study, said,
“Cooperation is something that’s invaluable and instrumental in a successful relationship but men and women experience it differently.”
She further explained that,
“This research provides another avenue to understanding how partners’ emotions can become linked, but future research is needed on how these emotional patterns may ultimately contribute to the longevity, or demise, of the romantic relationship.”
So there you have it. When you’re next arguing with your partner, keep this study in mind. 😛
Featured image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License