Stressful life situations can make people focus more on their partner’s bad habits, new research warns.
Researchers say this also applies to couples in the ‘honeymoon’ phase of their relationship.
Previous studies have shown that stressful life situations can affect how a couple interacts, but this new one shows that a stressed person notices their partner’s negative behavior.
Researchers now believe that stress partners perceive which actions in the first place.
Negative behaviors include one partner breaking promises, becoming angry or impatient, or criticizing their partner.
Stress: Stress makes people focus more on their partner’s bad habits, warns new study (stock image)
What are the bad habits that people focus on their spouses?
Negative aspects of human behavior that people focus on their partner include:
– Spouse is breaking promises.
– Showing anger
– Criticizing their partner.
Lead study author Dr. Lisa Neff, of the University of Texas, said: “We found that individuals who reported experiencing more stressful life situations outside of their relationship, such as problems at work, were particularly likely to perceive their partner as inconsiderate. road.’
The research team asked 79 heterosexual newlyweds to complete a short survey every night for 10 days, recording their own and their partner’s behavior.
Before the study period began, participants completed a questionnaire in which they shared details about stressful situations in their lives.
Dr Neff said studying newlyweds brought home the importance of the findings, as couples were more likely to focus on each other’s positive traits and ignore negative behaviors during the ‘honeymoon season’.
“For many people, the past few years have been difficult – and the stress of the pandemic continues,” she said.
‘If stress focuses an individual’s attention on their partner’s more inconsiderate behavior, this can damage the relationship.’
The researchers found that one stressful day isn’t enough to cause a person to focus on their partner’s negative behavior, but a long-term accumulation of stressful life situations can change their focus.
The findings also suggest that people under stress are not less likely to notice positive behaviors in their partners, but they are more likely to observe inattentive behaviors.
Researchers say this also applies to couples in the ‘honeymoon’ phase of their relationship
While recognizing the consequences of stress may allow couples to modify their behavior and limit the damage to their relationship, Dr. Neff believes this can only be speculated upon until more research is done.
She said future studies would do well to expand the study beyond the honeymoon process.
Dr. Neff added: “One direction is to examine whether the deleterious effects of stress may be stronger between couples.
But finding these results in a sample of newlyweds speaks to how influential stressors are.’
The study was published in the journal Social psychology and personality science.
Mind in love
The frontal cortex, which is important for judgment, shuts down when we fall in love. MRI scans show that this stimulation occurs only when a person shows a picture of the person they love, which makes them stop all criticism or doubts.
Samir Zaki, professor of neuro-ecology at the University of London, said: ‘When you see someone you love, certain parts of the brain become active.’ But the greater part is awake, which part plays a part in the proceedings.’
Professor Zeki believes the brain can be used in this way for ‘higher biological purposes’ – increasing fertility.
If the verdict is suspended, the most unlikely couple can get together and reproduce. A person in love can still make other major decisions in their life, from striking a business deal to choosing a new mortgage.
And this soundness makes it difficult for friends to convince them that they have ‘taken their heart’ in unadvised matters.
A brain scan also revealed the area of the brain that controls fear and another region involved in negative emotions.