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Being Right Is Better Than Being Happy, Relationship Study

Update Date: Dec 17, 2013 06:31 PM EST
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"I told you so" is familiar phrase among couples, but the desire to be right can put unnecessary strain on relationships. To understand whether it's better to be right or to be happy, researchers assessed the quality of life of a married couple living in their own home.

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand decided that the wife would rather be right and the husband would rather be happy. They asked husband to agree with his wife's every opinion and request without complaint, even if the he believed his wife was wrong. The wife did not know about this intervention.

Researchers said that the study had to be stopped after 12 days as the husband felt that his wife became increasingly critical of everything he did.

The findings revealed that the man's quality of life score fell from 7 out of 10 at the start of the study to 3 out of 10 at 12 days. However, the wife's quality of life slightly increased from 8 to 8.5 at six days.

"It seems that being right is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness," researchers wrote. "The results of this trial show that the availability of unbridled power adversely affects the quality of life of those on the receiving end."

"Many people in the world live as couples, and we believe that it could be harmful for one partner to always have to agree with the other. However, more research is needed to see whether our results hold if it is the male who is always right," they added.

The findings are published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

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