Are Optimists More Lucky In Love?

Are Optimists More Lucky In Love?

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When people are out in the sometimes cold and unfriendly world of dating, it may be tempting to become jaded and “not get your hopes up” by expecting the best. But does maintaining a bit of pessimism keep you safe from heartbreak?

Research may have an answer: probably not. Optimists, with their high hopes and open hearts, actually do seem to be luckier in love, therefore suffering less of that feared heartbreak that pessimists (and everyone else) are always trying to avoid.

Researchers from Michigan State University studied dispositional optimists–those who tend to have an optimistic personality and world view–and found three things in particular:

  1. Optimism is linked to satisfying and happy romantic relationships
  2. Optimists tended to have greater increases in relationship satisfaction over a two-year interval
  3. This increased satisfaction may be linked with optimists’ tendency toward cooperative problem solving in relationships–they are more likely to talk things out, believe in seeing the other person’s perspective, and look for solutions that work for both parties, rather than trying to ‘win’ arguments at their partner’s expense.

This goes along with other research that has shown other benefits of optimism, and likely plays into optimists’ tendency to be optimistic: they expect good things in their relationships because they make good things happen in their relationships.

And because strong, healthy relationships can be a huge source of support and can help us relieve stress in many ways, this research shows that the optimists’ way is a good way to build a healthy love life that’s likely to include less stress.

What’s helped you find success in your romantic relationships?

Chances are, when you're happy and optimistic, you're coming from a place of openness and love, and this can infuse positive feelings into your relationships and make them stronger.  If the idea of being too optimistic scares you, don't take this as an edict that you must operate from a place of blind faith in every relationship working out.  Trusting your instincts can keep you from the wrong relationships and from putting your heart in danger of being hurt.  However, leaning toward a place of optimism that also feels realistic for you can be better than coming from a more pessimistic place.  For example, you can:

  • Look for opportunities to meet people who will be good for you, and believe that they are out there. 
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt when it's reasonable.  (This doesn't mean ignoring good judgement or overlooking red flags; it means not assuming the worst or writing people off early because of nit-picky things.)
  • Maintain a positive attitude--it's attractive to others, and it brings benefits of its own.
  • Cultivate healthy communication skills, and believe that they can make your relationships stronger.
  • Look at your negative relationship habits, and believe that you can change them.

The resources below can help you to develop more optimism in your life, and to create healthier relationships, too.  Enjoy!

Read More Relationship Research for Stress Relief

Source: Assad, Kimberly K., Donnellan, M. Brent, Conger, Rand D. Optimism: An enduring resource for romantic relationships.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 93(2), Aug, 2007. pp. 285-297.

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