Marriage: It’s Only Going to Get Worse
I was rather amused to see the headline “Marriage: It’s Only Going to Get Worse” at Yahoo! News.
If your spouse already bugs you now, the future is bleak. New research suggests couples view one another as even more irritating and demanding the longer they are together. The same trend was not found for relationships with children or friends.
The study results could be a consequence of accumulated contact with a spouse, such that the nitpicking or frequent demands that once triggered just a mild chafe develops into a major pain. But accumulated irritation has its silver lining. “As we age and become closer and more comfortable with one another, it could be that we’re more able to express ourselves to each other,” said lead study author Kira Birditt, a research fellow at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. “In other words, it’s possible that negativity is a normal aspect of close relationships that include a great deal of daily contact.”
Rather than breeding unhappy couples and ill health, the increase in negativity could be a normal part of relationships. “Because we found that pattern was overall among the participants, it appears to be normative. It’s not something unusual that happens,” Birditt said.
Of course, it’s possible that people actually get more irritating and demanding as they get older.
Regardless, the study’s results are hardly counterintuitive. For example, I rarely get annoyed by people in Cleveland but contemplate violent acts against people in the DC Metro area — particularly people I encounter driving to and from work — on a near-daily basis.
Lockhorns cartoon via The Comics Curmudgeon