Guys, if your lady is upset, try to understand where she’s coming from (or at least look like it). A new study from researchers at Harvard Medical School and Bryn Mawr College found that as long as women think that their men are striving to be empathetic (called “perceived empathetic effort”), they’re more likely to report being satisfied in their relationship.
It was irrelevant whether the men actually did understand them — the women simply wanted to see that they were attempting to relate.
“Women may place greater value on partners’ empathic effort, perhaps because this behavior emphasizes the desire and investment of their male partners to be attentive and emotionally attuned in the relationship,” the authors wrote in the study, which was published online by the Journal of Family Psychology.
For men, relationship satisfaction was tied to whether they could tell if their partners were happy. It’s quite sweet, actually:
Although the men felt better when they were able to tell that their partners were experiencing positive emotions, they didn’t feel so great about the state of their union when they were detecting negative emotions in the women….
The authors of the study suggest that the men might have responded the way they did because for them anger or stress in a girlfriend or wife can feel threatening to the relationship.
So heed the study’s advice, men: Just pretend to understand us from the get-go, and it’ll be smooth sailing from there.
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