10 Studies That Affect Your Relationships
INTRO_10_Survey_Facts_021 of 11
Can Cheating Kill?2 of 11
An affair may not end your marriage, but it could end your life. (And not for the reasons you might think.) The American Heart Association put a paper out in January showing that almost 1 percent of people who died of a sudden heart attack did so while having sex. And of those, 82–93 percent were men, and 75 percent were having extramarital sex. While doctors involved in the study caution against blowing the numbers out of proportion, we don't see the harm in scaring (um, encouraging) men—and women—to stay committed for health's sake.
Oh, Behave!3 of 11
A study from British Journal of Psychology confirms what we've long suspected: Men are on their best behavior around an attractive woman. (It's worth noting that women's behavior isn't affected by the proximity of a handsome man.) According to researchers, these well-behaved men are also more likely to act selflessly—all in order to win over a potential mate. Think of his upstanding ways as the human equivalent of the peacock tail, explains study co-author Wendy Iredale, Ph.D.
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That Lovin' Feeling4 of 11
Long-term couples are more intensely in love than we perhaps thought. A study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science reports that 48 percent of 274 married Americans surveyed nationwide said they were "very intensely in love" with their spouses. "It's assumed that intense love occurs in the early stages of a romantic relationship, but decreases dramatically across time," says K. Daniel O'Leary, the survey's lead researcher. Yet, while the feeling declined for couples married 10–20 years, it went up again for those together for 20 years or more.
Get Committed5 of 11
When you offer to scrub those long-neglected dishes, you're not just earning marital brownie points—you're safeguarding your relationship. A recent UCLA study shows that while successful, lasting relationships require serious commitment, the true test comes when both partners need to make sacrifices for the other person and "take active steps to maintain the relationship," no matter the personal costs, says Thomas Bradbury, senior author of the study and a psychology professor who co-directs the Relationship Institute.
Lucky No. 136 of 11
Good news to those of us still on the dating scene: There's a benefit to having a bevy of relationships before settling down. Peter Todd, professor of informatics and cognitive science at Indiana University, says that people should, ideally, have 12 relationships to establish a baseline of what they're looking for in a partner and to understand their relationship standards.
ON YOURTANGO: Is Finding A Soulmate Unrealistic?
Weighty Matters7 of 11
A study from Ohio State University released in August 2011 found that women have a tendency to gain a few pounds after tying the knot, while men are more likely to do so after a divorce. "Married women often have a larger role around the house than men do, and they may have less time to exercise and stay fit than similar unmarried women," says Zhenchao Qian, a professor of sociology at OSU. "On the other hand, studies show that married men get a health benefit from marriage, and they lose that benefit once they get divorced, which may lead to their weight gain."
Just Poking Around8 of 11
Forget irreconcilable differences. In December 2011, a U.K. study found that 33 percent of "behavior petitions" (Brit-speak for "reasons to file for divorce") contained the word "Facebook," a number that is quite a jump from the 20 percent reported in 2009. The No. 1 reason Facebook was implicated in the breakups? Because of "inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex."
ON YOURTANGO: Why Facebook Causes One-Third of Divorces
Move On In9 of 11
For those "living in sin," redemption is finally here. New research shows that long-term cohabitation might be more emotionally fulfilling than marriage, according to a study published in the February 2012 issue of Journal of Marriage and Family. "We found that differences between marriage and cohabitation tend to be small, and dissipate after a honeymoon period," says Kelly Musick, Ph.D., associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology. "Cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem."
Carnal Knowledge10 of 11
According to the results of last year's WomenTalk survey—which was released in November 2011 and commissioned by health information source HealthyWomen—63 percent of female respondents think sex is necessary for connecting with their partners, but less than half are satisfied with their sex lives. "There seems to be a growing trend in women having sex for obligation, not enjoyment purposes," says Naomi Greenblatt, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in women's health. Plus, she says, most women don't see sexual health as important to their overall wellbeing.
Doggone It11 of 11
A dog may be man's best friend, but having one as a pet can actually turn off a potential suitor. In December 2011, Craigslist.co.uk asked singles which pet would make them "less inclined" to date someone. While 28 percent said that they wouldn't date a dog owner, 25 percent admitted that they wouldn't date someone who had a cat. The pet least likely to turn someone off? A hamster.
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