Dogs really ARE Miracles with Paws!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Well....this is encouraging....NOT!

If your spouse already bugs you now, the future is bleak. New research suggests couples view one another as even more irritating and demanding the longer they are together.

The same trend was not found for relationships with children or friends.

The study results could be a consequence of accumulated contact with a spouse, such that the nitpicking or frequent demands that once triggered just a mild chafe develops into a major pain. But accumulated irritation has its silver lining.

"As we age and become closer and more comfortable with one another, it could be that we're more able to express ourselves to each other," said lead study author Kira Birditt, a research fellow at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. "In other words, it's possible that negativity is a normal aspect of close relationships that include a great deal of daily contact."

Rather than breeding unhappy couples and ill health, the increase in negativity could be a normal part of relationships.

"Because we found that pattern was overall among the participants, it appears to be normative. It's not something unusual that happens," Birditt said.

Relationship report

Birditt and U-M colleagues Lisa Jackey and Toni Antonucci looked at how negative views of spouses, friends and children changed over time and among different age groups, including young adults (ages 20 to 39), middle-aged adults (40 to 59) and older adults (60 and over).

The researchers analyzed responses collected in 1992 and 2005 as part of the Social Relations and Health Over the Life Course study, a regionally representative sample of people from the greater Detroit metropolitan area.

More than 800 individuals indicated the level of negativity in relationships with their spouses or partners, children and best friends. Participants also noted whether or not their responses referred to the same spouse, child and friend during the 2005 interviews.

Each participant rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with two statements:

"My (spouse/partner, child, friend) gets on my nerves."
"My (spouse/partner, child, friend) makes too many demands on me."
Irksome partners

In all age groups, individuals reported viewing their spouse as the most negative compared with children and friends. The negative view of spouses tended to increase over time.

"We were surprised because in the gerontological research, it suggests that as people age they get better at regulating their emotions and experience less negative relationships," Birditt told LiveScience. "But we found that it depends on which relationship you're looking at."

As relationships with spouses became more negative, relationships with children and friends seemed to become less demanding and irritating over time. Negativity toward friends decreases over time partially because we can continuously choose and weed our friends, ditching those pals who are irritating, according to the researchers.

"Relationships with children may become less negative because of role changes as children move through adolescence and young adulthood, grow and mature, usually becoming more stable and independent," Birditt explained. Kids moving out didn't seem to impact spousal negativity, however, as the researchers found the same trend for spouses irrespective of the age group.

Participants in their 20s and 30s reported having the most negative relationships overall. Older adults had the least negative relationships with spouses, children and friends. Past research by Birditt and others has shown that older adults are more likely to report less conflict in their relationships compared with younger adults.

"Older adults are more likely than younger people to report that they try to deal with conflict by avoiding confrontations, rather than by discussing problems," Birditt said.

In general, the longer partners stay together, the more they have to deal with the other's idiosyncrasies, for instance. "When you’re living together, it’s a lot harder to avoid each other," Birditt said.

The research was presented in November at an annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, and it has also been submitted to a journal for publication.

In my opinion....it's an individual choice...what works for one relationship may not work for another. We have been married for fifteen years. What works for my husband and I....we have two residences and for a portion of the year we each live in one of them. Another PLUS for NOT selling when we get the RV!! I'll just have to keep this research around!!

Your thoughts???

15 comments:

Simply Jenn said...

Interesting. I know I've heard quite often from Gib's grandma that when his grandpa retired he almost drove her nuts. They adjusted after a while and seemed as happy as ever. Maybe there is an adjustment phase, or maybe as you get older the person you spend the most time with is your spouse which leads to irritation.

Or maybe I should buy another house.

Sandy said...

I think instead of a house, I will just buy an RV!

Then I can go and visit all the kids till I get on their nerves...lol.

I think it's just proximity. and the people you don't love? they never get on your last nerve 'cause you just don't care.

bermudabluez said...

Simply Jenn....you are too funny! Go with the additional house thing!!

Sandy...Now there's an idea I hadn't thought of. But then this means I actually have to learn to drive the RV myself! :)

Pam Aries said...

I don't have a spouse anymore...YIPPIE!!!! ha ha..I can get in my RV/VdubBus and take off!

Brenda said...

"Older adults are more likely than younger people to report that they try to deal with conflict by avoiding confrontations, rather than by discussing problems," I find this to be true. I've been married for almost 37 years now and although I still say what's on my mind, I'm less likely to blow up about it.

Alison said...

Not buying it!! We have been together for 25 years...and yes he annoys me at times and I am sure I annoy him...well maybe not!!...but I do know that we are much more accepting of each other and we hardly fight at all anymore...and we had some douzies in the beginning!!!

So, nope, I am not buying it!! I think if you are unhappy with yourself, you will be unhappy with your life!!

Joy T. said...

Hmmm I might have to call BS here. For Gregg and I anyway, we used to fight and nitpick all the time at each other. All. The. Time. Now it barely happens. We both admit we fought so much years ago we just don't have the strength to fight anymore. I can only speak for myself here, but over the years I've learned what nerve NOT to hit anymore with Gregg. Ok ok sometimes I'll hit that nerve on purpose just to get a rise out of him but that's just to keep him on his toes. Don't tell him I said that.

Kellan said...

Very interesting and I believe it totally. My husband and I have been married for a little over 23 years. I think we will stay married, but it is highly possible that he will get more and more on my nerves (and me - him) the longer we are together. I think two houses is a great idea. I guess we need to keep that lake house all the way into our old age. Take care - Kellan

Alison said...

I have something for you,...come on over!!

ablondeblogger said...

I know this will probably make you vomit, lol....but I've been married almost 19 years and my husband doesn't irritate me at all.

I could spend time with him 24/7. He got to work at home for six months this past summer and I loved every minute of it (and people kept asking me if I couldn't wait for him to go back to work).

When I hang out with him, it's just like hanging out with my best friend.

Okay, here's a tissue to wipe up the vomit, lol.

ablondeblogger said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you! Sophie has her first day in doggie day care tomorrow! I'm taking her there to get used to other dogs and people since she's so scared all the time. I hope it helps her. I'll probably cry when I drop her off!

Hayden said...

sounds about right to me. I was with my x for 23 years. would probably still be "with" him if he'd agreed to larger space w/ more private room for me. (Separate residences = heavenly!) But - he didn't, and from a pretty decent relationship things degenerated into an ugly separation. It wasn't necessary.

sirdar said...

We;ve never really had a lot of fights....mostly because Dawn scares the crap out of me!!! LOL

Actually, we don't fight much. We probably should because we would probably get more decisions made. We've been married 20 years. It hasn't been perfect but I do think we just seem to be able to coexist with each other pretty well. I think we are in a tired part of our life....tired of a lot of things...not of the other spouse.

dawn said...

I have to agree with Sirdar, he better be scared ;-). Actually, I think it is true about being tired. I also think when the kids were little my last nerve was pinched more by him. As we have become older we know a little more what not to do or say (as Joy indicated). On the other hand, I think for women, we hate that they don't remember, and as they get older that gets worse. For men, they hate that we get snarky when they don't remember, and the lack of remembering gets worse with age.

Jen said...

How interesting! I wonder if this is true for my parents, I know a lot of things dad does drives my mom batty.