You Need to Really Want to Do The Dishes

Posted on May 30, 2007

Doing the dishes because you really want to is a good sign that you care. A new study by Heather Patrick, research assistant professor at the University of Rochester, found that people who made small sacrifices for their significant other because they really wanted to had happier relationships than people making sacrifices resulting from pressure or obligations.
To answer one of the most common conundrums of romantic relationships, Patrick asked 266 men and women in relationships to document either their own or their partner's pro-relationship behaviors for two weeks. Such behaviors can be any sacrifice or accommodation made out of consideration for one's partner or one's relationship.

Patrick found that partners who engaged in the behaviors because they wanted to-not because they felt pressured or obligated-to-were more satisfied in their relationships, more committed to them, and felt closer to their mates afterward.

But she also found that people who simply perceived that their partners engaged in pro-relationship behaviors because they wanted to were also more satisfied and committed to their relationship after a partner's action.

Patrick says her research has practical applications. She sees it being used for individual and couples therapy. She says this new information gives couples and psychology professionals insight into why some relationships aren't fulfilling even when everything looks OK on the surface.
If you are doing something kind for your significant other because you want to make them happy that's probably a really good sign - especially if they are also given back in the same way. These sacrifices are also called PRBs - pro-relationship behaviors.

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