Our romantic pledges and wedding vows may be unrealistic, according to research. You look into your new spouse’s eyes and see your adoring stare returned as your friends and family watch.
The sun is shining, your partner’s grin is beaming, and your heart is overflowing with deep pleasure and contentment. What a joy it is to have discovered your soul mate! You have a strong feeling that you will adore this person for the rest of your life. Make sure to thank her in the form of I love you forever quotes for helping you become a better version of yourself.
Should you, however, make a solemn promise to do so?
The answer is primarily determined by your ability to effectively predict your future emotional states. After all, love is an emotion, and it, like rage, sadness, or exhilaration, may defy our conscious desires. What does the scientific literature indicate about our capacity to predict our emotional states in the future? Unfortunately, the news isn’t encouraging.
Hundreds of researchers have produced evidence showing humans are remarkably wrong when anticipating their emotional responses to upcoming life events, following in the footsteps of affective forecasting pioneers. Whether we’re predicting our emotions to upcoming elections, sports games, or painful medical procedures, our predictions seldom match our actual experiences.
Breaking Up Is Surprisingly Simple
We looked at how accurate individuals are at predicting their emotional reactions following a relationship breakup in recent research. The individuals in our sample of college students were in moderately significant romantic relationships at the time of study entrance (the average duration was over a year). Every two weeks, they answered an online questionnaire that inquired about many elements of their personal and professional life. In each questionnaire, respondents were asked to predict how disturbed they would feel in two, four, eight, and twelve weeks if their relationship ended in the following two weeks. They continued to complete the questionnaires even after they had broken up with their partner, allowing us to compare their predicted distress to their actual distress—for example, the distress they predicted they would experience eight weeks after a breakup to the distress they actually experienced eight weeks after one.
Participants underestimated their level of suffering on average, and this emotional forecasting bias became apparent practically quickly after the separation. Furthermore, those who made their predictions while they regarded themselves as deeply in love with their spouse were the most inaccurate—they predicted unfathomable despair, yet they tended to go through the breakup relatively unscathed. The pre-breakup anguish estimates showed a huge difference between those who indicated they were genuinely in love and those who said they weren’t. However, those who said they were really in love were only significantly more affected after a breakup than those who said they were not deeply in love
Breaking up isn’t enjoyable, and we wouldn’t encourage it as a weekend activity. The findings of our research, on the other hand, reveal that most individuals find the agony of a breakup to be substantially less than they expected, particularly if they were deeply in love with their spouse at the time of prediction.
Should You Make a Promise?
What do the vows we should make on our wedding day have to do with this excellent forecasting research? It implies that we should be cautious about making promises regarding our emotional states in the future. Of course, because “we’ll see how it goes” does not make for fascinating marital drama, think about all the things you can guarantee that are within your control. You may, for example, swear to treat your spouse with decency and respect at all times, even when you are upset. You might also pledge that you will never have an extramarital affair. You have influence over these factors, as well as a slew of others that are critical to the success of long-term relationships.
Can you, on the other hand, firmly swear that you will love your spouse not just tomorrow, but also 20 or even 50 years from now? Although there’s a good possibility you’ll love your spouse till death do you part, saying that you will do sound risky, particularly if you’re the kind who takes solemn vows seriously.
Is it true that opposites attract?
Consider your most recent romantic relationship. Would you describe him or her as similar to you or as apart from you? Most of us have a gut feeling that we are significantly different from our spouses, and when we do, we’re usually thinking of personality traits. My spouse, for example, has a very laid-back attitude, but I am often described as stressed. While it’s true that we’re more likely to resemble our spouses’ views than their personalities (Luo and Klohnen, 2005), you’re probably more similar to your partner than you know, even in terms of personality. When we compare personality qualities, we don’t tend to match our partners in absolute levels of specific personality characteristics (one spouse is likely to be more extroverted or less conscientious than the other); instead, we prefer to match our partners in patterns across personality features. For example, you and your spouse may discover that you are both more outgoing and amiable, as well as less neurotic and open to new experiences. Couples’ personality patterns are more likely to be comparable across qualities than their levels on any one measure. This “profile-based resemblance” has been linked to marital pleasure (Luo and Klohnen, 2005).
Men or women, who is more romantic?
The general consensus is that women are more romantic than males. When it comes to romantic ideals, however, males tend to be more romantic than women. Men, for example, are more inclined than women to believe in love at first sight and “love conquers all” (Sprecher and Metts, 1989). Men are also more likely than women to fall in love quicker and to express “I love you” initially in their relationships (Harrison and Shortall, 2011). Because men and women express their love impulses in various ways, we may conclude that women are more romantic. Men are more inclined to utilize practical demonstrations of love, such as sharing domestic responsibilities, while women are more likely to use romantic and emotional gestures of love (Shoenfeld et al. 2012)