Marriage and long-term relationships are known to be difficult, some believe that they are worth the stress. Often these relationships fall apart, despite the vows couples make promising eternal love, affection and loyalty. A new study shows that a relationship’s problems will remain stable, even after their affection and satisfaction with one another begins to fade.
Romeo and Juliet, are probably the most beloved example of romance and love, ever to be penned, but even they had their problems. Where would their relationship have ended up five or even ten years later? A new study from a University of Georgia psychologist, believes that a couple’s problems will not go away, nor will they magnify, but stay the same even as their satisfaction with each other begins to wane.
The study that was originally published in the Journal of Family Psychology, disproves the age-old theory that relationships fail, due to partners’ dissatisfaction each other, and suggests that the main cause of a relationship’s deterioration is from problems that occurred before any type of long-term commitment was made.
To perform the study, the researchers collected information from 169 newlyweds, pertaining to their issues with in-laws, household management, time spent together, unrealistic expectations and showing affection, among many other topics. The psychologists involved in the study, interviewed the subjects eight times over the course of four years, asking them questions on these topics and rating their answers. Out of 19 specific problems that were observed, the only issue that altered in a significant manner was a drop in signs of affection shared between the partners.
This implies that the same problems that occurred before and during the long-term relationship did not fluctuate or cause any additional harm, but the most serious damage inflicted on the relationship was caused by the partners becoming unsatisfied with each other.
Two co-authors of the study, from the University of California, believe the main cause for the drop in satisfaction is due to the partner’s inability to continue to tolerate each others problems.
How would Romeo and Juliet’s relationship have ended up five or ten years later? Judging by the couples age, the accumulation of research performed by the individuals involved in the recent study, their predisposition to each others families, and nihilistic tendencies, it would be safe to assume that Romeo and Juliet would need to attend couples therapy if they desired to save their relationship.
The lead author of the study, Justin Lavner stated:
“There is this idea that relationships don’t need maintenance. People say, ‘We have a good relationship, so that should just protect itself.’ Well, it’s pretty clear that’s not true.”