Ever been unhappy in a relationship but just couldn’t seem to send your partner packing?
A pair of new studies, combined in one final report, is coming to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — and says there might be a simple explanation for that. The full research is set for publication in November 2018.
Basically, you might care too much about the other person’s feelings and how — or if — they can handle the break-up.
Study lead author Samantha Joel, from the University of Utah, summed up the findings of her research in a press release.
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“The more dependent people believed their partner was on the relationship,” she said, “the less likely they were to initiate a breakup.”
To reach that conclusion, researchers first conducted a study on 1,348 people who were currently in a relationship with a romantic partner, the study says. Those subjects were tracked for 10 weeks, the study says, and surveyed on how important they viewed the relationship was for the person whom they are dating.
The second part of the study involved 500 people who were thinking about breaking up with their romantic partner, according to the study’s authors, who then asked those subjects about their relationship status for the next 2-month period.
In both studies, people were more hesitant to call it quits if they viewed the relationship as important to their partner.
“This is true even for people who weren’t really committed to the relationship themselves or who were personally unsatisfied with the relationship,” Joel said in the press release. “Generally, we don’t want to hurt our partners and we care about what they want.”
Still, Joel says, that doesn’t mean a sensitive partner should never expect to be on the unwitting side of a break up.
“One thing we don’t know is how accurate people’s perceptions are,” Joel said in the press release. “It could be the person is overestimating how committed the other partner is and how painful the break up would be.”
In August, a study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that couples that talk more with the word “we” than “I” are more likely to have a fulfilling relationship.