Single or in a relationship? If you don’t see your relationship status changing anytime soon, chances are you view your way of life as ideal, maybe even “best for everyone,” according to a new study.
What that boils down to, researchers say, is married couples feeling sad for their lonely single friends, while singles in turn pity their coupled friends’ loss of freedom.
“We often become evangelists for our own lifestyles,” the researchers say. “When it comes to our relationship status, we are rarely content to simply say ‘being single works for me’ or ‘being in a relationship suits my disposition.'”
Rather, people may idealize their own relationship status, perhaps as a way of coping with the aspects of it that aren’t that ideal, they noted.
To reach their findings, researchers Kristin Laurin of Stanford University and David Kille and Richard Eibach of the University of Waterloo tested 458 adults ranging in age from 18 to 79 in four separate experiments.
The first showed that the more stable participants considered their relationship status to be, the more they “idealized that status as a norm for others to follow,” they said.
This was true for both singles and coupled subjects, regardless of whether or not they were happy with their status.
For their second study, the team asked subjects to imagine a Valentine’s Day evening for an imaginary person of the same gender, named Nicole or Nick.
Subjects who judged their own relationship status to be stable thought that Nicole/Nick would have a better Valentine’s Day if she or he had the same status as them.
However, the subjects had less positive judgments when Nicole/Nick’s relationship status was different from theirs.
The findings, announced Monday, will appear in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. — AFP RELAXNEWS