I have been accused of abandoning romance writing by some readers. The reason is that sometimes seasons determine the subject to write about. When one remembers that God has brought one from the dead many times it triggers the search for reasons and a call to service. However, over time, I have collected some research findings on relationships. Here are some, courtesy Psyblog.
Cheating partners raised by parents who cheat
People whose parents cheated on their partner are more likely to cheat on their partner as well, research finds. Infidelity runs in the family, and it is one of the reasons people cheat.
When offspring knew their parents had cheated, they were more likely to cheat themselves.
It is partly down to subtle messages about relationships passed down from one generation to the next. Parental infidelity indirectly tells offspring that this behaviour is acceptable.
The study’s authors write that infidelity is reasonably common: “…infidelity is the single most common reason for relationship
dissolution in both dating relationships and marriages”.
Moreover, approximately 22%–25% of married men and 11%–15% of married women report having engaged in sexual
infidelity and 75% of male college students and 68% of female college students report having engaged in some form of infidelity in their dating relationships.”
For the research, 1,254 people took part in three separate studies.
They were asked about their attitudes towards infidelity, including the extent to which they agreed with statements like:
- “Relationship partners should always be faithful.”
- “In order to have a successful relationship, individuals should only be involved with their relationship partner.”
- They were also asked about the messages they received from their parents about relationships.
- For example, did they agree with statements like:
- “My parents told me that infidelity is sometimes justified.”
- “My parents discussed with me the importance of being faithful in romantic relationships.”
- The authors explain the results: “…parental infidelity is associated with offspring’s own likelihood of having engaged in infidelity. Offspring who had knowledge of a parental infidelity were significantly more likely to have engaged in infidelity…”
Naturally, this does not mean that cheating partners can blame their parent’s for their own behaviour — everyone makes their own decisions.
However, people often take after their parents.
The personality type most likely to cheat on their partner
Men and women cheat on their partners at about equal rates. According to various studies, somewhere between 40% and 76% of people cheat on their partners over the course of their relationship.
The type of people most likely to cheat are those with ‘avoidant attachment styles’. In other words: these are people who find intimacy uncomfortable.
They are the kind of people who want to avoid being too attached to one person. This could be because of poor parental relationships when they were young.
They could also value their independence more highly than being very close to one person
Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, author of a study on the subject, said: “These numbers indicate that even if we get married with the best of intentions things don’t always turn out the way we plan.
“What interests me about infidelity is why people are willing to conduct themselves in ways that could be very damaging to them and to their relationship.”
The top two reasons for infidelity that people cited were: (1) distancing themselves from commitment and (2) distancing themselves from their partner.
“The emotional attachment we have with others is modeled on the type of parenting received during childhood. Infidelity could be a regulatory emotional strategy used by people with an avoidant attachment style.
“The act of cheating helps them avoid commitment phobia, distances them from their partner, and helps them keep their space and freedom.”
No difference was seen between men and women in the study.
Ms Beaulieu-Pelletier said: “Contrary to popular belief, infidelity isn’t more prevalent in men.”
The compliments that women find most attractive
Using metaphorical compliments makes men more attractive to women than using literal ones, new research finds.
Women in the Chinese study found men more attractive if they used phrases like “Your eyes are morning dew”.
On the other hand, saying things like “Your lips are so sexy”, was not the way to go.
It is very clear which type of compliment is most romantic, but the use of metaphor has another subtle purpose.
Metaphors require more intelligence and creativity to generate so they are indirect signals of a person’s creativity and intelligence.
The study’s authors explain: “We tend to form very rapid impressions about a person’s attractiveness in social contexts and thus for women, cues from language usage during initial encounters may provide a rapid first assessment of a potential mate’s intellectual and creative abilities.”
Alongside complimenting women’s appearance, the study also tested complimenting their potential girlfriend’s house.
They either said metaphorical things like “Your roof is a lover’s shoulder” or literal things like “Your door is very strong”.
Naturally, these house-based compliments didn’t go down as well as those directed at the woman’s appearance.
Still, though, the metaphorical compliment created more attraction than the literal one.
The authors write: “…women, in contrast with men, prefer creativity and intelligence rather than physical attractiveness and for the compliments used in our current study women did indeed perceive those which were figurative as indicating higher intelligence in a man than literal expression compliments.”
Valuing these relationships makes people happier and healthier
People who value their friendships are healthier and happier, research finds. As we get older, relationships with friends can become more important for health and happiness than relationships with family members.
With age, friends can play a stronger role in predicting how long we will live than our families. It may be partly because we choose our friends and not our families (well, not most of them, anyway).
Friends who have stood the test of time are particularly valuable.
Dr William Chopik, the study’s author, said: “Friendships become even more important as we age. Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being. So it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.”
A first study surveyed 271,053 from almost 100 countries. This found both friends and family were linked to people’s happiness and health.
However, the benefits of friendship became stronger with age.
Dr Chopik said: “There are now a few studies starting to show just how important friendships can be for older adults.
“Summaries of these studies show that friendships predict day-to-day happiness more and ultimately how long we’ll live, more so than spousal and family relationships.”
A second study of 7,481 older adults found friendships could be both a significant source of strain as well as happiness.
However, friends may help to fight against loneliness, Dr Chopik said: “Friendships help us stave off loneliness but are often harder to maintain across the lifespan.
“If a friendship has survived the test of time, you know it must be a good one – a person you turn to for help and advice often and a person you wanted in your life.”
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