Thinking About This One Simple Thing Can Stop A Lover'S Quarrel In Its Tracks
All couples bicker. It's an unavoidable part of being in a relationship. But new research shows that there’s a way to shut those spats down quickly and on a happier note (instead of, you know, with one of you sleeping on the couch).
According to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, taking a sec to think about whether you'll really care 20 years from now that he left his socks on the floor again can make you more likely to actually resolve the conflict and move past it.
For the study, researchers asked more than 300 participants to either think about how they would feel in the future or just focus on the present when they were arguing with their partners. Those who were instructed to be “future-thinking” were less likely to blame their partners for the issue, had greater insight into what was happening, and showed greater forgiveness after the argument—and that all added up to a happier relationship.
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But…why? Study co-author Alex Huynh tells WomensHealthMag.com that thinking about how an argument will impact your life down the road changes how we think about the issue. “Oftentimes, people who are caught up in thinking about their relationship conflicts engage their current emotions and feelings,” he explains. Translation: All you can think about is your ANGER. “These feelings are often more negative and what people tend to use as fuel for heating arguments.” As a result, we’re more likely to act in ways that really aren’t so great for the health of our relationship.
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But when you think about the conflict as it relates to your future, it’s easier to put it in perspective, Huynh says. “In the end, this perspective allows people to also feel more positively about their partners and their relationship, and increases their expectations that the relationship will get better over time.”
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It’s all about taking a timeout, Huynh says. His work found that people who did this were more likely to learn from the argument in a way that would actually help them get closer to their partner.
Sure, it’s probably easier said than done—especially if you’re really pissed off—but it’s certainly worth a shot.