Study highlights the importance of the perception of emotion in romantic relationships

Beliefs about how we are seen by our romantic partners may affect the quality of our relationships.


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Emotional connection is sharing a common unspoken language with your partner. It’s a synergy between two personalities that holds your relationship together.

People display meta-accuracy of personality and relational constructs such as trust and perceived value. But people are also aware of others’ judgments on less stable constructs, such as emotions, exhibiting emotion meta-accuracy.

Meta-accuracy is the ability to infer how others see us correctly. But, do people know how their romantic partner views the self’s emotions, displaying emotion meta-accuracy? Researchers at McGill University are shedding new light on the importance of the perception of emotion in romantic relationships.

Scientists found that regardless of the individual is feeling, realizing their accomplice sees their feelings as a typical reaction to a given circumstance might prompt better relations within a couple − particularly in conflict.

For the study, scientists surveyed 189 romantic couples to determine how emotional meta-accuracy impacted momentary relationship quality. They wanted to know how our beliefs about how others see us affect the quality of our relationships.

Ph.D. candidate Hasagani Tissera said, “No matter why you are feeling a certain way, interactions within a couple are likely to be more positive when you know your romantic partner sees your emotions as similar to how a typical person would feel in a given situation.”

Scientists found that couples were better able to cope with conflict when they knew how their partner saw their emotions. The study also suggests that remaining blissfully unaware of the partner’s unique impressions may lead to better momentary relationship quality.

Tissera said“Or, to put it differently if you know your romantic partner sees you’re angry because of a reason that’s unique to your experience and not based on how the average person might feel, chances are it will hurt your relationship – at least at that moment.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Hasagani Tissera, Jennifer L. Heyman and Lauren J. Human. Do People Know How Their Romantic Partner Views Their Emotions? Evidence for Emotion Meta-Accuracy and Links with Momentary Romantic Relationship Quality. DOI: 10.1177/01461672211068225


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