Couples don’t always see eye-to-eye. Conflict is certain to arise in every romantic relationship.
What matters the most is how couples approach and deal with conflict. Research consistently shows that one’s attachment style greatly influences how couples work through disagreements.
Partners with an anxious style of attachment are likely to:
- Experience more frequent and intense conflict in their relationships
- Blame their partners for disputes
- Engage in a more controlling style of communication (make more demands, threats, and use manipulation).
- Have difficulty letting go of issues
Partners with a dismissing style of attachment are likely to:
- Downplay the importance and frequency of conflict in their relationships
- Distance themselves from their partners
- Withdrawal from conversations, limit their involvement, and curtail the discussion
- Try to keep their feelings to themselves
Given what anxious and dismissing individuals bring to the table in terms of their approach to conflict, you can see how such a pairing leads to problems in a relationship. One person tries to escalate conflict while the other person tries to check out… and no one is happy with the outcome.
Source: Feeney, J. A., & Karantzas, G. C. (2017). Couple conflict: insights from an attachment perspective. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 60-64.
Attachment | Relationships
A partner’s betrayal can be a gut-wrenching, life-changing experience. Being betrayed by a partner can leave you feeling devalued and disrespected. And when your partner puts his or her needs ahead of what’s best for you or your relationship, it can also create a lot of uncertainty and confusion (“How and why did this happen to me?”).
While being betrayed can be a devastating experience, like all negative events, it also represents an opportunity for reflection and reevaluation.
A partner’s betrayal can force you to focus your attention on core principles of your relationship. Specifically, a betrayal can cause you to think about:
- Your partner’s true goals and motivations. Do you and your partner’s goals align? Do you share the same values and want the same things out of life? A partner’s betrayal can get you to focus on whether you and your partner actually share the same goals.
- How responsive your partner is to your needs and concerns. Does your partner take your perspective into account, try to make you feel understood, and show concern for how you’re feeling? A partner’s responsiveness to your distress is very telling. A betrayal can reveal just how responsive your partner is – a partner who dismisses your needs or who acts more defensive than concerned isn’t ideal.
- A partner’s betrayal can help you identify your expectations and standards. How exactly do you want and need to be treated in order to feel loved, valued, and care for? A betrayal can help you articulate exactly what you want out of your relationship.
- A partner’s betrayal can force you evaluate your relationship. Is your relationship worth the occasional pain and suffering? Does the good outweigh the bad?
While no one wants to experience a betrayal, a partner’s betrayal can motivate people to engage in a detailed evaluation of their relationship.
The core principles listed above are adapted from Finkel, E. J., Simpson, J. A., & Eastwick, P. W. (2017). The Psychology of Close Relationships: Fourteen Core Principles. Annual Review of Psychology, 68, 383-411.
New research reveals that individuals with an insecure style of attachment – individuals who have an anxious or dismissing attachment style are more likely to engage in infidelity-related behaviors online.
When it comes to online activity people who have an anxious or dismissing style of attachment are more likely to…
- Engage in intimate information sharing with others
- Keep in touch with ex-partners
- Behave in ways they try to hide from their partners
- Hide online chats from their partners
- Get angry and defensive when questioned about their online behavior
- Believe their partners would be upset if they knew the truth about their online activities
Source: McDaniel, B. T., Drouin, M., & Cravens, J. D. (2017). Do you have anything to hide? Infidelity-related behaviors on social media sites and marital satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 88-95.
Attachment | Infidelity | Lying | Relationships
Individuals with Machiavellian personality traits, people who have little emotional investment in their relationships, the tendency to exploit their partners, and often engage in deception and infidelity, are not only likely to take advantage of their partners, but also approach breakups in a cruel manner.
New research shows that women with Machiavellian personality traits are likely to initiate breakups using the following tactics:
- avoiding their partner and becoming more distant
- acting in ways that make the relationship more costly to their partner (i.e., purposely being difficult)
- breaking up via text message, email, voice message
Essentially, women with Machiavellian personality traits don’t take a proactive and considerate approach when trying to breakup.
You can take an online Machiavellian personality test here.
Source: Brewer, G., & Abell, L. (2017). Machiavellianism and romantic relationship dissolution. Personality and Individual Differences, 106, 226-230.
Infidelity | Lying | Relationships
New research explores how individuals who betray their spouses think about their actions.
Essentially, this research tries to address what people were thinking as they started an affair.
The findings of the study reveal that individuals who start an affair:
- They tend to be unhappily married. They believe there are unresolved problems in their relationship.
- They also tend to have a fixed mindset when thinking about the problems they encounter in their marriage. They don’t think that their problems can be solved.
- They believe that they have a greater desire for passion and sexual novelty than their spouse does.
- They believe that sexual gratification is an important aspect of their lives.
- They tend to put their own concerns over consideration for what their spouse is experiencing.
- They don’t believe that divorce is an option.
Individuals with the above mindset don’t necessarily set out to have an affair or recognize that their actions are putting them on the path to cheating.
Instead, individuals may meet someone who is fun and interesting and start spending more time with that person. Increased time and activities lead to a greater sense of connection with the other person. Eventually, passion overrides reason and judgment. Again, people don’t see the affair coming, until after it happens.
However, once individuals cheat on their spouse, feelings of regret are common.
Source: Zapien, N. (2016). The Beginning of an Extra-Marital Affair: A Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Study and Clinical Implications. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 47(2), 134-155.
Infidelity | Relationships