Beware, anxiety about your partner’s commitment can harm your relationship
Are you unsure of your partner’s commitment? Your anxiety might doom the success of your relationship, says a new study.Updated: Jun 20, 2017 12:38 IST
If you are clingy and distrustful towards your partner, it might make them anxious about the relationship. Florida State University graduate student Ashley Cooper explores how fluctuation in one’s feeling about the relationship can doom its success.
“For people anxious in their attachments, they have anxiety as to whether the person is going to be there for them and whether they are worthy of others,” said Cooper. “I was interested in how attachment security impacted partners’ experiences in their relationship on a daily basis. Some couples experience instability from one day to the next in their relationship, so we sought out to explore what could increase or decrease this volatility,” Cooper explained.
They found that individuals who experience high levels of anxiety about their partner’s commitment were likely to experience more volatility in their feelings about the relationship from one day to the next. Furthermore, when women experienced this anxiety, their male partners experienced similar volatility in their feelings about the relationship.
They interviewed 157 couples and asked them a series of questions about how the couples communicated their attachment to each other, how comfortable they were in emotionally connecting with their partners, their relationship satisfaction and the type of conflict that existed in the relationship. Of the sample, 74% of the participants were dating and nearly 50% of participants were in relationships of two years or less.
The team specifically looked at the couples in which one or both partners experienced high attachment avoidance — behaviours associated with the distrust of relying on other people — and attachment anxiety — behaviours associated with fears regarding consistent care and affection. When an individual reported high attachment avoidance, both the individual and partner reported generally low levels of relationship satisfaction or quality.
When individuals reported high attachment anxiety, there tended to be increased volatility in relationship quality. Cooper said the findings will be helpful to clinicians involved in premarital or couples counselling and for individuals who experience drastic differences in their feelings about their relationships from day to day.
For the average person, stay attuned to what your partner is saying and avoid making assumptions that can escalate conflict, she advised. Trusting in your partner and your relationship is important to daily interactions and stability for your relationship, they concluded. The study was published in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
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