Have Hope! Research Says Hard Relationship Work Pays Off


Gabrielle White

It's the sixth time you and your partner are having this discussion. It feels like it's going nowhere, and you want to lob the closest object at arm's length toward their face. Should you have hope? According to a research study out of Auburn and East Carolina Universities, you probably should.

Researchers looked at 106 romantically-involved young people and tracked how often they spoke of relationship troubles to their friends and family, and how much relationship work they did with their romantic partners. As it turns out, there was no appreciable benefit from hashing out relationship problems with friends and family. Meanwhile, those who did the most work with their partners reaped the most rewards.

Naturally, the research finds that both females and males who invest in doing significant relationship work also report stronger feelings of love toward their partner. One interesting piece of data debunks the stereotypes: though we might expect to see that women are more expressive about their relationships to friends and family, both men and women in this study were found to be equally likely to talk about their relationships.

However, the sample of men in this study was smaller than the sample of women, so we'll take that result with a grain of salt. Also, it's worth bearing in mind that there is  older research  out there that suggests that talking with friends and family isn't a lost cause.

The bottom line: If you're working on your relationship with your partner, it's likely paying off. Have the discussion for a seventh time, and we might suggest putting down the shoe you were about to throw at them.

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