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Why Pessimists Make Better Spouses

Update Date: Jul 10, 2013 02:12 PM EDT
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Pessimists make better spouses than optimists, a new study suggests.

While optimism is generally seen as a desirable quality that can positively impact mental and physical health, new research reveals that this hopeful outlook on life can also destroy your marriage.

Researchers said that optimism can be a liability because always expecting the best in life could stop people from taking necessary steps when facing with life's difficulties. 

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers Lisa A. Neff and Andrew L. Geers said that newlyweds should pay more attention to the way in which their optimistic expectations are formed.

While people who are generally optimistic in life won't experience problems, researchers stressed that those who are very optimistic about their relationships in particular may develop poor coping responses when thing turn out worse than expected, according to the Daily Mail.

Researchers found that spouses who had higher general dispositional optimism reported engaging in more positive problem-solving behaviors when dealing with relationship conflict. Neff and Geers said that these people showed more constructive problem solving and experienced fewer declines in marital well being during the first year of marriage.

However, people who focused their optimism solely on their relationships weren't as good at constructive problem solving as those with dispositional optimism when experiencing conflict with their partner. Researchers found that these people also experienced greater declines in martial well being over time.  

Although general forms of optimism may actually help maintain relationships, researchers concluded that optimism in relationships can actually place spouses at risk of marital breakdown.

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