Cannot Spot That Your Partner Is Hiding Emotions? Study Reveals Couples May Miss Cues


Relationships can great and difficult at times. A new study reveals that blissfully happy couples who have stayed long with one another may be oblivious when it comes to understand their partner's emotions.

A research conducted by psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis specifically states that couple's may miss out cues, which their partners use in order to avoid dealing with emotional issues. The lead author of the study, Lameese Eldesouky, stated that these incidents of false interpretation of a partner's emotions tends to spark negative emotions in the other half.

"They tend to underestimate how often a partner is suppressing emotions and to overestimate a partner's ability to see the bright side of an issue that might otherwise spark negative emotions." said Lameese Eldesouky, lead author of the study.

The Study

The research examined the accuracy of judgment of dating couples regarding personality characteristics of their better halves. It also reveals the ways one tends to manage other's emotions.

According to the study, there exist two hacks to hide ones emotions from their partner. The first is expressive suppression and the second is known as cognitive reappraisal.

Expressive suppression usually refers to the hiding of an individual's emotions behind the garb of a quiet and cool poker face, while cognitive reappraisal denotes the change of one's viewpoint to see the comforting prospect of a terrible situation.

These mechanisms are less likely to be noticed by the couples if one of the partners resorts to it.

The study was co-authored by Tammy English and James Gross, both professors of psychology at Washington University and Stanford University, respectively.

The study was conducted based on the questionnaires and interviews carried out on 120 heterosexual couples attending colleges in Northern California. All the participants of the study were between the age of 18 to 25 years and had been in a relationship with each other for more than six months, some even as long as four years. The study was conducted to measure their emotion regulation.

Findings Of The Study

English along with Gross stated that the method of suppression is used more in men than women and can damage a healthy relationship drastically.

The researchers further added that that suppression is frequently judged as a negative quality, while reappraisal is taken in as positive attribute. The study also suggested that suppression is easier to judge than repression due to the fact that the former method has more external clues compared to the latter.

The study also concluded that women in a relationship judge their male counterparts more positively than men, often overestimating their partner's ability to look for the silver lining. It further adds that if a partner is naturally emotional, their better halves assume that they will be less likely to hide emotions.

The findings of the study have been published in Journal of Personality on March 2.

Photo: Tina Franklin | Flickr

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