This Low-Effort Activity Could Improve Your Relationship

It’s time to click past Facebook albums. A new study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology shows that in long-term relationships, just looking at your partner’s photos can lead to infatuation, increased attachment, and increased marital satisfaction.

“Romantic feelings generally decline over time in long-term relationships, and declines in romantic feelings are common in breakups,” said study author Sandra Langeslag, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lewis, director of the Neurocognitive Institute of Emotion and Motivation, told The HuffPost.

Langeslag and her team wanted to see if there was a way to bring the thrill back to their former romantic partnership. To do that, they recruited 25 of her near heterosexuals for this study. On average, participants had known their partner for her 11.9 years.

To capture the context of the couple and collect controlled data, each person was asked to describe their current level of infatuation and how they rate their attachment to their spouse, how long they have known their partner, and how long they have been in the relationship. How long have they been married for a period of time.

Each person also completed an assessment of marital satisfaction and love regulation. (In social science jargon, “love regulation” is a way to increase the intensity of emotions using behavioral or cognitive strategies. You can choose to try something new together on a regular basis.)

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Looking at old photos can make you feel romantic nostalgia. This is a powerful feeling that develops in long-term relationships.

The researchers then showed participants a picture of their spouse and a fun neutral picture while recording brain activity. (Fun pictures show strangers smiling or doing something good, such as hiking or petting animals. Neutral pictures show them shopping for groceries or working on a computer. , which showed strangers engaged in mundane activities.)

Spouse pictures or fun pictures are preceded by emotional regulation such as “Think of one good personality trait for your spouse” or “This man is making his hang gliding dream come true.” I was prompted.

Once the photos were displayed, participants used sliders to indicate how infatuated they were with their spouses, how attached they were to them, and how satisfied they were with their marriages.

Ultimately, Langeslag and her team found that viewing photos of spouses led to more infatuation, greater attachment, and greater marital satisfaction than viewing favorable or neutral photos. bottom.

Furthermore, patterns of brain electrical activity, known as late positivity potentials (LPPs), were most positive in response to pictures of spouses, suggesting that “participants were more interested in their spouses than in pleasing pictures.” ” indicates that

“Some people think it’s impossible to control their emotions when it comes to love, but this study shows that when you look at your partner’s photos, your love for your partner and your relationship satisfaction increase,” Langeslag told HuffPost. It shows an increase.

Langeslag says the reverse is also true. Her previous research showed that negative thoughts while looking at pictures of her partner/her ex-partner decreased romantic feelings. This can be helpful when dealing with heartbreak.

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“Unlike things like couples therapy, you don’t even need a partner to be present to do this,” Langeslag said of the photographic experiment.

The researchers believe her current findings will be most beneficial to long-term couples and couples in long-distance relationships who need their love to grow when they’re not together.

“Unlike things like couples therapy, you don’t need a partner’s presence to do this,” she said.

Other research highlights the power of romantic nostalgia and the role positive recollections play in the functioning of long-term relationships.

A 2022 study found that romantic nostalgia is positively correlated with increased relationship commitment, satisfaction and intimacy.

Instead of photos, the researchers in that study asked participants in long-term relationships to write about their nostalgic experiences with their partners or to listen to songs that made them feel nostalgic about their relationship. Others wrote about mundane experiences they had or listened to songs they liked, but didn’t associate them with their relationships.

Comparing the two groups, we found that those who were ready to experience nostalgia felt more intimate, more devoted, and more affectionate with their partners. I was satisfied with the relationship.

“These are simple strategies that can help people stabilize their marriages, especially when feelings of love are on the decline,” Langeslag said.

Want to browse old photos of your partner?If you’re still using Facebook, this app will store all your interactions (photos, conversations) with that user’s profile[友情を見る]Conveniently group under buttons. (I apologize in advance for letting you read all the overly serious wall posts I sent my spouse during the crushing phase of the relationship. For love, it’s worth the cringe.)

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