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So many of our emotional ups and downs are related to conflicts in our intimate relationships.
A love relationship that transports us through our days on a cloud of bliss can quickly drop us into a dump of disappointment, and sometimes depression.
The effect that conflicts have on relationship satisfaction has much to do with our attitude about love and togetherness, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.
It seems that people tend to think one of two ways about love relationships. Some people consider love relationships a perfect unity of two individuals. They view their partner as their “other half,” feel each was made for the other, and may believe that one unified soul is inhabiting the both partners.
Other people think of loving relationships as more of a journey shared by two individuals who care about each other. They expect to “get through things” together and find satisfaction in navigating difficulties as a couple.
Although belief in the unity of loving souls is definitely more romantic, it is the journeyers who more often have better relations. Their attitude of making it through things together downplays the disrupting effect conflict has on relationship satisfaction.
“Our findings corroborate prior research showing that people who implicitly think of relationships as perfect unity between soulmates have worse relationships than people who implicitly think of relationships as a journey of growing and working things out,” said researcher Spike W. S. Lee, a social psychologist.
In the Toronto study, recalling conflicts a person had with their partner caused participants to experience less relationship satisfaction—but only if they had the unity frame of mind. Why? If people believe they are a “match made in heaven,” or that their souls are one, they also tend to think there should be no conflicts. So, a conflict indicates something is wrong.
Instead of viewing conflict as something wrong, journeyers see it as an obstacle along the way that must be worked through together. Dealing with it as a couple is, for them, a sign of relationship strength.
Everyone will naturally believe what they choose about souls and soulmates, but if you are constantly disappointed or derailed by a reasonable amount of conflict in relationships, it may be your attitude (and/or your partner’s) is getting in the way. If you are not sure what reasonable relationship conflict is, consider consulting with a couples counselor.
Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Thomas Rousing / flickr
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