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February 2011



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First Published Friday, 5 February 2010

Couples Can Overdo Being Supportive

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2010) — Couples having problems are often advised to be more supportive of each other, but a series of University of Iowa studies shows that too much support — or the wrong kind of support — may actually do more harm than good.

In recent studies of heterosexual couples in their first few years of marriage, researchers learned that too much support is harder on a marriage than not enough. When it comes to marital satisfaction, both partners are happier if husbands receive the right type of support, and if wives ask for support when they need it.

The findings illustrate the need for couples to understand the various ways they can be supportive, and the importance of communicating what they need and when, said Erika Lawrence, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“The idea that simply being more supportive is better for your marriage is a myth,” Lawrence said. “Often husbands and wives think, ‘If my partner really knows me and loves me, he or she will know I’m upset and will know how to help me.’ However, that’s not the best way to approach your marriage. Your partner shouldn’t have to be a mind reader. Couples will be happier if they learn how to say, ‘This is how I’m feeling, and this is how you can help me.”

Too much of a good thing

In one study, Lawrence and colleagues discovered that receiving more support than desired is a greater risk factor for marital decline than not being there for a spouse.

“If you don’t get enough support, you can make up for that with family and friends — especially women, who tend to have multiple sources of support,” she said. “When you receive too much support, there’s no way to adjust for that.”

The study involved 103 husbands and wives who completed surveys five times over their first five years of marriage. The questionnaires looked at how support was provided and measured marital satisfaction.

Four kinds of support were identified in the study: physical comfort and emotional support (listening and empathizing, taking your spouse’s hand, giving your spouse a hug), esteem support (expressing confidence in your partner, providing encouragement), informational support (giving advice, gathering information), and tangible support (taking on responsibilities so your spouse can deal with a problem, helping to brainstorm solutions to a problem).

Results showed that too much informational support — usually in the form of unwanted advice-giving — is the most detrimental. In contrast, you can never go wrong providing esteem support, assuming it’s genuine.

Too little support was more common than too much. Receiving less support than desired was a complaint of about two-thirds of men and at least 80 percent of women. Only about one-third of men and women reported receiving more support than they wanted.

The paper, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, was co-authored by Rebecca L. Brock, a UI graduate student in psychology.

Support isn’t one-size-fits-all

A related study showed that for men, it’s important that their wives provide the right kind of support, offering emotional, informational, tangible or esteem support as needed. For wives, it’s more important that their husbands try to be supportive — even if what they do doesn’t quite hit the mark.

“Both parties are more satisfied if the husband gets the right kind of support, and if the wife feels like she’s supported,” Lawrence said. “Husbands shouldn’t throw their hands up if they’re not sure what to do. They need to stay in there and keep trying, because we found that women appreciate the effort.”

Lawrence said dialog is key. If you need support, request it; if you’re providing support, ask how you can help — don’t assume you know what to do. Afterward, talk about what worked and what didn’t, and adjust accordingly.

“The assumption is that men just want to be left alone and women want to be held and listened to,” Lawrence said. “In reality, different men want different kinds of support, and different women want different kinds of support.”

For this study, 275 newlyweds completed questionnaires about marital satisfaction, the type of support they received, and whether it was sufficient. Twice during the study, 235 couples visited the lab to discuss how they would approach a goal such as stress management, a career change, improving family relationships or being more assertive. Researchers shot video of the 10-minute conversations and observed how couples asked for, provided and accepted support.

The paper was published in the journal Personal Relationships. Lawrence was the lead author, with co-authors from the University of Iowa, CIGNA Health Solutions, Santa Clara University, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Both studies were supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Child and Human Development, and the UI.


Jealousy Hits Harder When Married

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 4, 2010

A new study suggests that marriage appears to have a protective effect in reducing jealous altercations.

However, when married couples do fight about jealousy — it’s much more damaging.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Iowa found that without jealous conflict, three-fourths of the married individuals surveyed were extremely satisfied with the emotional aspects of their marriage.

The chances of having that same level of satisfaction dropped to less than half if jealousy entered the equation.

For unmarried cohabiting couples, the probability of being highly emotionally satisfied only fell about eight points with jealousy. A similar contrast was observed for physical satisfaction.

“We associate certain rewards with marriage, but there are risks to it as well,” said Anthony Paik, assistant professor of sociology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“The advantages to marriage include deep commitment and trust. But when jealousy occurs in a marriage, that tension can have devastating effects on emotional and physical satisfaction. It’s not a straightforward story that marriage produces happier relationships.”

Paik authored the study, published online in the Journal of Sex Research, with Mariana Gatzeva of the Department of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia.

They analyzed a survey of 681 heterosexual men and women in marriages, cohabitant or non-cohabitant relationships from the Chicago area. Participants answered questions about whether they had experienced sexual jealousy and their level of physical and emotional satisfaction with their relationship.

More than half of cohabiting individuals reported sexual jealousy, compared to about one-third of individuals who lived separately (such as dating couples), and just 18 percent of married individuals.

Paik said the high rate of jealous conflict among cohabiting couples could be due to a strong expectation of exclusivity (other studies suggest 95 percent of cohabitating couples expect it), but less fidelity.

Researchers believe married couples encountered less jealousy because of the sexual exclusivity that goes along with exchanging vows — but also because they were more trusting.

“There may be a set of beliefs that’s protective for married couples in terms of avoiding jealous feelings,” Paik said.

“They’re somewhat insulated because they’re more trusting, and therefore less likely to be suspicious or look for breaches.”

Paik said understanding intimate partner jealousy is important because it could be useful in preventing domestic violence.

“Jealousy is a very powerful emotion,” he said. “In many cases, jealousy or love triangles are the motive for homicide or other violent crimes between intimates.”

Source: University of Iowa


Valentines Day, How to Keep the Flame Alive

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 3rd 2010

Valentine’s Day Suggestions From two Marriage Experts:

The two experts are”

1. Dr. Philip Lee, a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center, and co-head of the Marital and Family Therapy program.

2. His wife, Dr. Diane Rudolph, also a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center, and co-head of the Marital and Family Therapy program.

Drs. Lee and Randolf should know something about this subject. They have been married to one another for twenty years.

Here are some of their suggestions:

1. Couples should spend more time acknowledging the positive aspects of their relationship and put aside their complaints. Constant arguing makes everyone feel terrible about the marriage.

2. When shopping for a Valentine’s gift, refrain from being practical. Do not buy a vacuum cleaner. Instead, buy something charming and personal. In fact, this is a good idea to follow for birthdays, anniversaries and any day when one wants to give a gift to their spouse. How about some red roses?

3. It is just too easy for everyone to argue about petty things. It is also easy to forget to show appreciation to one another for the things each does. If you like her the way that blouse looks, say so. If you appreciate his making the bed, tell him.

4. Everyone needs to unwind when the day ends. Do not demand that things get done after returning home from work. Take time to relax and shed the tensions of the day. Transitions are difficult for most people and this includes the shift from working to home body and spouse.

5. It can be wonderful to reminisce about the early days of your relationship and romance. Many people wonder what ever happened to those days? The problem is that petty arguments over driving or getting to the restaurant on time dims can make the present day seem awful.

6. For some reason, marriage seems to bring to an end the daily practice of being polite. We forget to thank one another for little favors we do for each other. Those favors are taken for granted and that is why they can disappear. There is nothing wrong with using terms like, “thank you,” “what a nice dinner,” “picking up the kids really helped,” and, “thanks for doing the dishes tonight.” These among other such positive expressions really help.

7. Stop blaming your spouse for everything from forgetting to close the door to the condition of world politics. All us need to become more tolerant of each others foibles. None of us are perfect and, much of the time, the things we quarrel about could be the source of lots of laughter.

8.  I always advise the couples I work with to stop using all or nothing words. For example, “you never do this,” or, “you always do that.” It is not true that we “always,” or “never.” These all encompassing words help create a false catastrophic atmosphere.

9. How many times have I pointed out to couples in therapy that they are not listening to one another. They are not listening because they are talking over one another. Each person is so busy attempting to state their own version of things that they do not hear what is being said. I ask couples to practice paraphrasing what was just said before making a comment just to make certain they really heard and understand what was just said. So often, what we believe we heard is different from what was said.

10. Couples need time away from the kids, house and work, so that they can be together and feel private and romantic. There is nothing like the occasional dinner out at a romantic restaurant or a weekend away at a hotel.

It is important to stress the fact that these nine suggestions be practiced every day and not just on Valentine’s Day.

From time to time I have heard patients in psychotherapy or have read reader questions state that they feel lonely even though they are married. Usually, those feelings of lonely are symptomatic of two people feeling out of touch with one another. Marriage means more than just living together or supervising children. Marriage is an active interaction between people. Loneliness occurs when communication between spouses had broken down or never occurred. There is marriage therapy.

Source:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=35465&cn=289

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Shiny, swanky car boosts men’s appeal to women, but not women’s appeal to men

It’s a widely held, if much derided, belief that ownership of a prestige sports car can increase a man’s sex appeal to women. Indeed, there’s a scene in the American sit-com Friends in which Joey dons a ridiculous Porsche-branded costume of peak cap, gloves, jacket and trousers, so determined is he to convince female passers-by that he owns a fast, shiny car. Now Michael Dunn and Robert Searle have tested the shiny car effect scientifically, looking at the influence of apparent car ownership on both male and female perceived attractiveness.

Hundreds of passers-by in Cardiff city centre were asked to rate the attractiveness of a young man or woman portrayed in a photograph sitting in a car. Male participants all rated the same woman, and female participants all rated the same man. Crucially, half the participants saw the man or woman sat at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta whilst the other half saw the man or woman sat at the wheel of a Bentley Continental (worth a cool £75000, approximately, at the time of testing).

Pilot research had established that, against a blank background, the photographed man and woman were perceived as equally attractive by the opposite sex (both scoring approximately mid-way on an attractiveness scale) and also that male and female participants didn’t differ from each other in the aesthetic ratings they gave to the two models of car. The stand out message from the research proper, however, is that the man was rated as significantly more attractive when he was seen sat in the Bentley rather than the Fiesta, whereas the woman’s perceived attractiveness was unaffected by the car she happened to be sitting in.

This finding appears to support prior research showing that in cultures all round the world, heterosexual women are attracted to men with greater status and resources, whereas heterosexual men tend to be attracted to women who appear youthful and fertile.

‘It would appear that even though recent years have witnessed dramatic increases in female ownership of prestige luxury cars, such ownership does not enhance female attractiveness, as is the case with male attractiveness,’ the researchers said.

‘Also,’ they added, ‘the results contradict the “structural powerlessness” hypothesis, i.e. the belief that as economic differences diminish men and women will become more alike, as the rise in female economic fortune has not, it would appear, emancipated them from attraction to cues that are indices of wealth and status in males.’

Dunn, M., & Searle, R. (2010). Effect of manipulated prestige-car ownership on both sex attractiveness ratings British Journal of Psychology, 101 (1), 69-80 DOI: 10.1348/000712609X417319

Source:  http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2010/02/shiny-swanky-car-boosts-mens-appeal-to.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BpsResearchDigest+%28BPS+Research+Digest%29

Living together? Put it in writing

This is good advice for those who forgo the formality of marriage to live together. This advice applies all romantic couples who have children, financial, and/or assets or other shared valued items.

People go into these relationships out of love, but they don’t use their heads,” says Pamela Radzinski, a Southfield divorce and family law attorney.

Yet census data show the number of opposite-sex couples living together hit 6.8 million in 2008. That’s up from 5 million in 2006 and up from less than a million some 30 years ago, reports USA Today, citing census data. Cohabiting couples make up roughly 10% of all opposite-sex U.S. couples, married and unmarried.

But if you want to live together in the state of Michigan without marriage, Radzinski advises people to get a written contract.

Though the notion may not sound romantic, Radzinski says she recommends that all couples get a non-marital agreement drawn up by an attorney before moving in together. It should cover issues such as division of property and assets, what will happen to children, and support for a nonworking partner in case of a breakup.

A contract is especially important in Michigan, where those living together don’t receive the same protection as married couples, says Radzinski. She offers an example she’s seen many times: The woman stays home, the man tells her he’ll always take care of her — until he leaves and she’s left with nothing….

Sample cohabitation contract

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One Response to “Relationships: Support, Jealousy, Valentines, Keeping The Flame Alive, Cars & Male Appeal, Living Together, Taller Than Your Man?, Pride”

  1. Lebanoclegi Says:

    Hello, awesome read. Enjoy whole of it. Thanks.

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