“They make me a better person” is no longer just a cliché people in happy relationships use. According to science your partner’s ability to make you better (or worse) is what makes the difference between not only a successful relationship, but a long term positive sense of self as well. This makes the case for finding that person who makes you better all the more important.
The study suggests that our romantic partners are capable of modifying our sense of who we are as individuals in four different ways:
- Gaining positive attributes can simply happen by picking up a partner’s positive habits and their sense of self. Great examples are when your partner is an optimist, you begin to exercise more, or you’re generally happier because of the positive experiences you are sharing together.
- Gaining negative attributes from a partner can occur by picking up bad habits from a partner like smoking, laziness, or generally feeling more negative emotions because of the relationship or by what their perception of you.
- Losing positive aspects of your sense of self may happen if you sacrificed important hobbies, or neglected valued friendships or lost a part of your identity because of your relationship.
- Decreasing negative aspects of your sense of self can be facilitated by a romantic partner who helps you kick bad or negative thoughts and habits such as smoking, a lack of self-confidence, or even the feeling of loneliness.
The impact your relationship has on your self-concept will in turn affect how you feel about your relationship. As we can assume, relationships high in gaining of positive attributes and decreasing negative aspects can create greater satisfaction and commitment, more passionate and compassionate love, and are less prone to infidelity.
On the other hand, relationships high in gaining negative attributes and losing positive aspects tend to be of poorer quality, relatively low in love, and are more prone to cheating, but this isn’t even what I’m most concerned about.
The negative implication your relationship has on your sense of self is not only detrimental to your relationship, but also harmful to you in ways you may not even be aware of.
Consider that the gain of negative habits, thoughts and emotions along with a loss of your own identity can take years to fix and begin to look for the warning signs in your relationship.
- Have I lost confidence in myself since my relationship began?
- Have I picked up habits that can hurt my long-term physical and emotional health due to my relationship?
- Have I lost friends I consider to be important to me because my partner doesn’t like them?
- Have you begun to notice and now believe negative thoughts about yourself that you didn’t believe to be true before your relationship?
If you answer yes to many of these questions it’s time to reevaluate your relationship. According to the study, these self-concept changes have negative implications for your relationships, but more importantly is it worth the negative implications that it has on you?
Have you experienced negative habits, thoughts and emotions in your relationship? If you are uncertain about the future of your relationship and need help navigating through, please consider my coaching services. Contact me here.