Problems arise in every romantic relationship. It is how you solve your problems that matters the most. It is much easier to solve problems if you can avoid personalizing the situation. While it may be natural to want to assign blame and attack a partner for what they have done, it is rarely effective (see, talk about problems).
Research is continuing to reveal that the more you can depersonalize problems and take a neutral or more objective perspective on the situation, the more likely you are to work things out.
Whether you have a secure or anxious style of attachment has a big impact on your life (see, attachment styles). Secure individuals have more successful relationships, better health outcomes, and are more likely to be happy. Anxious individuals have a more difficult time controlling their emotions, reacting to problems constructively, and maintaining their relationships.
New research shows just how problematic an anxious style of attachment can be. People were placed in a room with chocolate chip cookies and then asked to read a story about a secure or anxious relationship. People ate considerably more cookies after reading about the anxious relationship.
Hundreds of thousands of studies have been done on attachment styles. We now know that just thinking about being in an anxious relationship leads to increased snacking.
Feeling jealous? Maybe it’s that time of the month. Research continues to reveal that many relational behaviors are tied to a woman’s menstrual cycle. The latestfindings show that women exhibit higher levels of jealousy while ovulating. While the pattern is clear, the explanation is not. Being jealous while being fertile is not likely to help a woman get pregnant. From an evolutionary point of view, a man guarding a fertile female makes much more sense. But, a fertile woman keeping a closer eye on her man, what’s the point? One possible explanation – women tend to get more competitive with each other during their fertile phase. Perhaps this increased sense of competition leads to feelings of insecurity and a more watchful eye. Eventually someone will figure this mystery out.
Looking for someone trustworthy and reliable to date? It may help to sit in a wobbly chair.
New research shows that our wants and needs are influenced by our immediate surroundings. People, who were seated in a wobbly, unstable chair, were more likely to value trust and reliability in a potential date, compared to people who had their feet more firmly planted on the ground (so to speak – they were actually just seated in a sturdy chair).
Feeling physically unsteady makes people seek out others who can provide stability. Individuals seated in a wobbly chair were also more likely to think that other people’s relationships were unstable.
Research is consistently showing how bodily sensations can unconsciously influence our thoughts, wants and desires (embodied cognition). Take a close look at your surroundings. The environment you are in has a subtle influence on how you see the world and the goals you decide to pursue.
Of course, grocery stores, shopping malls, casinos, and amusement parks (think of Disney) have been using environmental tricks to unconsciously influence our behavior for decades. Scholars are just now beginning to reveal some of the tricks of the trade.
It is not a lot of fun to have an anxious-ambivalent style of attachment or date someone who does. Anxious-ambivalent individuals obsess on their relationships, can be overly needy, are constantly worried about being abandoned, exaggerate their emotions, and tend to act in controlling ways (see, attachment styles).
New research, however, highlights one advantage anxious-ambivalent individuals may bring to the table. Anxious-ambivalent individuals can detect deception better than other people. Their hyper-vigilant nature may actually be a blessing in disguise when it comes to reading other people’s behavior.
But, is this gift really a good thing? People in relationships are happiest when they fail to see the truth (see, catching lovers lying). And given anxious-ambivalent individuals’ tendency for exaggeration, it is an open question if people take their point of view seriously. Like the boy who cried wolf, anxious-ambivalent individuals might be better at seeing the world as it really is, but unable to convince others to see it the same way. Another irony of life revealed.