TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Constantly questioning the quantity or quality of affection that your partner gives you is very detrimental to a relationship, a new study finds.
Researchers at Florida State University interviewed 157 couples, asking each partner a number of questions about how they interacted with their significant other. Of the couples examined, 74 percent were dating, while about half had been together exclusively for no more than two years.
The questions delved into how attached each partner was to one another, how emotionally available one felt their partner to be, the partners’ levels of satisfaction in the relationship, and the amount of conflict the couple encountered.
Cooper and her team found that high levels of attachment anxiety — i.e., a partner worrying constantly whether their partner will love them back — in a relationship were linked to high levels of volatility in relationship quality.
More specifically, worrying about the stability of a relationship made a person start to feel doubt about the prospects of the arrangement.
“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,” says lead researcher Ashley Cooper in a university press release.
On the other hand, when one or both partners displayed high levels of attachment avoidance— i.e., not trusting a partner— it resulted in low levels of satisfaction and quality in their relationship.
Cooper explains that the study fulfilled her long-held interest “in how attachment security impacted partners’ experiences in their relationship on a daily basis.”
The researchers recommend that partners who experience attachment issues seek personal therapy, if not couples counseling.
One can also form a trusting bond by fully listening to their partner and not making assumptions, they argue.
The study’s findings were published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.