Being grounded can help your relationship in more ways than one. Physical instability makes people more likely to perceive insecurity in their romantic relationship, according to a new study published in Psychological Science.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Waterloo conducted three studies in which they put lab participants who were in exclusive romantic relationships in various physically unstable situations, then asked them how they felt about their relationships. Some participants sat at a wobbly workstation; some stood on one foot; some sat on an inflatable seat cushion made for balance training.
The rockier the participants’ physical circumstances were, the rockier they felt their relationship statuses were. Compared to study subjects who worked at stable desks, stood on two feet, or sat on rigid seat cushions, people who felt the world shifting slightly under their feet (or butts) felt more uncertain and unstable. They reported being less satisfied with and less committed to their current significant others. And, the study subjects who sat on wobbly seat cushions showed less affection in the e-cards the researchers asked them to send to their main squeeze.
While perceiving that your relationship is on the rocks isn’t quite the same thing as having it actually be insecure, people who are feeling iffy about their partnership tend to, in turn, be bad partners. The more people feel at risk for being hurt, the more they tend to withdraw from the relationship, creating a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy.
This isn’t the first study to suggest a link between physical sensations and interpersonal feelings. Scientists have previously shown a correlation between holding warm beverages and perceiving strangers as trustworthy and welcoming.
So, maybe don’t get married on a boat.
[h/t: The New York Times]