Though many of you may have already known this through intuition and common sense, newly released research is proving it to be correct. Couples who are nice to one another are happier. But how they define nice is important—as for many of us, this may be subjective.
Researchers at the IDC, Bar-Ilan University, the University of Rochester, and Cornell Tech in New York have published a study in the Journal of Personality and Social psychology that essentially defines nice as being responsive to your partner’s needs outside of the bedroom. This sounds rather familiar doesn’t it? Women have been trying to tell guys this for years, drawing a connection between what happens outside of the bedroom and inside of it.
Three separate studies were conducted with over 100 couples participating. In the first study that consisted of back and forth structured interactions, they evaluated how well each participant understood what their partner was communicating, how well they validated their feelings, and how they expressed warmth and affection towards them. The researchers were attempting to pinpoint what keeps happiness alive for couples after the initial highs of physical chemistry fade.
The second study used videotapes of the couples in an interaction in which one partner told either a positive or negative personal story and the other responded to it. Afterwards they were asked to express their feelings using some form of physical intimacy, and researchers coded these responses. And evaluated them for level of desire.
The couples in the third study kept daily diaries for six weeks that reported on the quality of their relationship, how responsive each felt their partner was to them, and their level of desire towards their partner.
The overall results showed a clear connection between sexual desire and perception of a partner’s responsiveness. In a nutshell, a responsive, tuned in partner is a turn-on. Women partners were especially sensitive to this.
Some ways to be nicer? Listen, really listen, and do it without judgement, pay attention to the little things that impact your partner, show support when it is needed/asked for—and take the time to tune in, really tune in. Spicing up your sex life won’t hurt either.