Friday, 4 September 2009

Relationship Psychology: Does Conflict Affect Men More?

In trying to overcome conflicts in a relationship, psychology may help us understand why men and women react differently. If you are dating or in a marriage, there are going to be arguments from time to time. What can make things worse is if the two people's ways of dealing with conflict cause them to make things worse. Many marriages have turned to marriage counselors and those who aren't married will still seek out relationship advice. Most counseling will help you realize some things that may help each understand how the other party thinks.

There was a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health which showed that most couples who had been together for only a couple of months between the ages of 18 and 21 avoided intimacy and being dependent on their other half. They also showed levels of anxiety concerning being rejected or abandoned. Those tested all exhibited different degrees of the anxiety over being abandoned. Of course, those who were more secure in themselves had lower levels and others, depending on how they dealt with anxiety and thought about abandonment, reacted differently as well.

What was interesting in the testing was how differently the results were in both men and women. The ones researching relationship psychology using these subjects found that in their physiological reaction to relationship conflict, the reaction in men was more easily noticeable. Most of the reaction was increased anxiety for the majority of men while only those women who are the more avoidant types showed any real changes.

Women are more likely to want to guide a conversation in trying to resolve conflict in a relationship. Psychology shows them to be, in this situation, the ones actively working to get the situation resolved. While they were showing increased levels of cortisol before and during the confrontation, the levels dropped significantly. They showed that getting the conflict over quickly was more physiologically satisfying.

Men, however, showed to be more passive in conflict resolution. While there was evidence that they, too, wanted the conflict to be resolved they weren't anxious to confront the conflict head on. Those men who had female partners who were more secure showed lower levels of anxiety. Women showed no change in their levels of anxiety whether their male counterpart was secure or not.

When you seek out relationship advice, whether you go to family therapy or psychologists, they are going to try to help you understand how men and women react differently. The above research on studying the effects of conflict in men and women will help you know why the react the way that they do in the relationship. Psychology and physiological research will help you deal with conflict better.

1 comment:

  1. It's a very difficult question!

    ReplyDelete