They say time is the ultimate relationship test. And while in some sense we know this to be true, there are plenty of other tests along the way that can light us up. They can warm our hearts with certainty that we’re with the right person, or they can heat our blood with disbelief and frustration. One thing is for certain; there is no hiding from the tests that life inevitably throws our way.
Yet, despite having such tests come our way organically, we as humans are still hungry for concrete conclusions. We enter online quizzes, read up on studies, and listen to the stories of others to compile data.
We use this data to mull-over the questions we might already know the answers to deep down. There’s something to be said about what’s deep within us and how it affects our relationships, isn’t there?
That’s the logic behind research for pop psychology publication, The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule it. Or so, the idea, at least.
Imagine you and your partner are sitting in a room together, each with your sheet of paper. You alone have been told that on your worksheet, you are to write things that you loathe about your partner. Your partner has to compile a miscellaneous list that has nothing to do with you. For example, listing household items.
Except, the instructions are a false indication that your partner has the same prompt as you. The intention is that you will see them drafting what you believe is their hate letter toward you, therefore provoking your insecurities to rise to the forefront. Depending on the gravity of said insecurities, you might tack on a bunch of items to the list that you otherwise wouldn’t. This likelihood is then a measurement to prove that your relationship is insecurity ridden, and therefore not able to last.
Seems telling? Perhaps, questionable at best? How might you feel if placed in this scenario? (We’re kind of dying to know.)
Questionable at Test
If the nature of this test seems a little harsh, that’s probably fair to say. If it seems a little like it didn’t hit the mark in judging whether insecurity is prevalent and ruining a relationship between two people—it’s because it’s true to say.
Don’t take it from me though, a similar study by the Journal of Research in Personality in 2017 confirmed it.
The study examined the same scenario, arriving at different results. It poked holes at the efficacy of the claims from the initial research for several reasons. But it all came down to the fact that the study employed psychological manipulation, and therefore caused people to react in a different way that varies from their baseline. Therefore, the study was obsolete in actually proving its hypothesis.
It’s troubling to consider that participants who raised the red flag had to go home with the belief their relationship was in ruins. However, I think this speaks to the hope we can have that not everything is what it seems. Matters of psychology and relationships are complex, messy, and beautiful. It’s what adds to their fiber in my humble opinion, and a small part of me believes—how they may transcend science.