9 Surprising New Relationship Studies
Analyze This1 of 10
By Paige Brettingen
In our never-ending quest to make a little more sense of love, marriage and men, we're turning to science. From dating etiquette to divorce triggers, here are nine new studies that may surprise you.
Moving On2 of 10
According to researchers at London's Kingston University, women are significantly happier than men for up to five years after ending their marriages. That's even after taking into account negative financial impacts. One possible explanation for the increased happiness? Researchers say it may be because women feel "more liberated" after ending unhappy marriages.
On the Money3 of 10
Those spats about your relationship's lack of romance or his mother's surprise visits aren't likely to end your marriage. But when it comes to money talk, the odds are against you. "Results revealed it didn't matter how much you made or how much you were worth. Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels," says Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher. According to Britt, it also takes longer to recover from money arguments because couples often use harsher language.
On the Watch4 of 10
Remember this next time you and your husband start arguing (which hopefully is not about money). Research from the University of Arizona found that a man tends to mirror a woman's emotional response in order to get her to cooperate. Women, on the other hand, will sway in the opposite direction from her partner. Men try to avoid conflict while women want to get to the root of the problem, researchers say.
Overdoing It5 of 10
Turns out, men don't think about sex every seven seconds, as the popular wisdom goes. Rather, a study by Duke University found that both men and women overestimate how much time they spend thinking about sex. Participants completed daily questionnaires for a month to keep track of their sexual thoughts. At the end of the study, participants were then asked to estimate their monthly total. The result: Men overestimated the number of total sexual thoughts more than women did. Researchers cite trying to "live up to gender stereotypes" as a possible reason why men exaggerate.
Going the Distance6 of 10
Living in different cities may no longer be a dating deal-breaker. Contrary to the assumption that long-distance relationships are "doomed," new research shows that the couples are more emotionally satisfied than their short-distance counterparts. “The long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy,” explains researcher L. Crystal Jiang from City University of Hong Kong. But one piece of advice from the happiest couples surveyed (long-distance or not): Avoid email—the "least romantic" form of communication.
Face Value7 of 10
Your face could be telling a man a lot. Namely, whether you're wife material or just a fling. A study published in the British Journal of Psychology found that of the 393 heterosexual men surveyed, those looking for short-term relationships found women with feminine faces (ie: smaller jawbone, fuller cheeks) most attractive. When choosing a long-term partner, men "may actually prefer less attractive, less feminine women," say the study's authors.
Not Losing Sleep8 of 10
A recent Toronto study found that 30 to 40 percent of couples choose to sleep in separate beds, and it may be helping them in the long run. According to researchers, sleeping solo actually helped strengthen relationships since couples could get into deeper stages of sleep and were (surprise, surprise) less cranky.
Going Dutch9 of 10
Men are getting tired of picking up the tab. In a survey from Chapman University in Orange, Calif., two out of three men want women to help pay for dates, but admit that they would feel guilty as they pocketed their date's money (But not so guilty that they wouldn't take the money apparently.) To women's credit, over half of the females surveyed said they do offer to pay on a date.
Skipping the Aisle10 of 10
The National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University reported in July that the current U.S. marriage rate is at 31.1 percent—the lowest it's been in nearly a century. Compare that to 1920 when the marriage rate was 92.3 percent.
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