Who Lasts in Love Determined by Mom
If one person is more committed in a relationship than the other, it may be because of the mothering they had, U.S. researchers suggest.
Researchers M. Minda Orina of St. Olaf College; W. Andrew Collins, Jeffry A. Simpson, Jessica E. Salvatore and John S. Kim of the University of Minnesota; and Katherine C. Haydon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign say it's not the partners' individual commitments that make the most difference in the grace and longevity of a relationship -- it's how well their levels of commitment match.
Two strong links will be benevolent and tolerant when the going gets rough, while two weak links may be lax about working things out, but since their expectations are equally low, there's less friction, the researchers say. The researchers suggest supportive, involved mothering in toddlerhood and an ability to work through conflict in adolescence are good predictors of becoming a "strong link" -- the person with the bigger stake -- in adult relationships.
However, if the opposite happened in earlier life, chances are the person will be the "weak link" -- the one with one foot out the door, the researchers say.
Researchers recruited 78 participants ages 20-21 and their heterosexual romantic partners and assessed each participant's level of commitment, as well as how they reacted to tasks or conflict as children.
Each couple discussed and tried to resolve the problem that caused them the most conflict. These videotaped interactions were rated for the amount of hostility -- coldness, rejection and remorseless injury -- and hopelessness about the relationship.
The study, scheduled to be published in the June issue of Psychological Science, found couples with disparate commitments were the most hostile.