The question that (once) is worth asking a partner

If you often conflict with your husband/wife, think about: do you overestimate his attachment to you? You are absolutely sure that he does not think about parting?

Most likely, it never occurred to you to ask the following question: “Tell me, what do you think, if we part, will you be happier?»Probably it seems to you that you already know the answer. However, it is possible that this is self -deception. Many of us are too optimistic evaluate the intentions of our spouses, say scientists from the University of Virginia Leora Friedberg and Stiven Stern (Steven Stern).

They made such conclusions by reducing the results of a long-standing survey conducted by the National Center for the Research of Family and Households back in the 1980s. More than 4 thousand married couples took part in it. Each of the spouses was invited to answer two questions:

1. Assess what your level of happiness would be if you were again idle (not married)? (Scale of answers: “much higher”, “higher”, “the same”, “below”, “much lower”).

2. How, in your opinion, your spouse will answer this question (spouse)?

After 6 years, a second survey was conducted in order to find out how many couples from participating retained their marriage, and how many broke up.

And years later, Leora Friedberg and Stephen Stern again studied this data and drew attention to curious patterns. Among the participants who believed that they would live no worse (or better), many, according to the results of the second survey, really parted with the spouses. However, there was nothing surprising in this result. It turned out to be different. Many of those who overestimated the devotion of their spouses, also eventually remained alone.

The poll materials testified: both husbands and wives did not imagine how the level of happiness of the partner would change in the event of a divorce. 54% of women and 59% of men were mistaken in their “predictions”. Their partners evaluated their possible prospects directly opposite to.

Women as a whole were inclined to overestimate the “misfortune” of their husbands in the event of a divorce. Men mainly, on the contrary, exaggerated the level of happiness of their wives in case of probable parting.

How does a misunderstanding of the feelings of another pushes to divorce? “When we believe that the partner still“ will not go anywhere ”(after all, without us it will be much worse), we are less likely to negotiate and look for compromise solutions”, – explain Leora Friedberg and

Stephen Stern. The contradictions between the spouses are inevitable, the researchers emphasize, but they can only be allowed through a joint search for the exit. Categorically insisting on our own during the conflict, we undermine our relationship. That is why it is useful to ask for a question in the heat of quarrel: does my husband (my wife) think about parting?

However, love pairs saves, the authors of the study note. It is she who encourages the spouses to look for the path to decisions that arrange both. And then, even incorrectly evaluating each other’s loyalty, they will do everything to stay together. If there is no love, but there is only a desire to maintain family status, then in the case of conflicts, reassessment of the devotion of another with a high probability leads to a deterioration in relations and, quite possibly, to divorce.

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