All couples fight, and how you recover from a tiff has a lot to do with the health of your relationship. It also has a lot to do with Mom: those partners who are able to bounce back quickest are likely to have had more secure relationships with their caregivers as infants, according to new research in the journal Psychological Science.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota zeroed in on a group of people they’ve been tracking since before they were born in the mid-1970s. When they were college-age, they and their partners showed up at the lab to participate in a “conflict discussion.” They were instructed to talk about something they didn’t see eye to eye on, then they were to follow that up with a cooler-headed conversation about an issue upon which they agreed.
Not surprisingly, some couples transitioned easily from a heated discussion to a more leisurely one. Others acted like toddlers and wouldn’t budge; they couldn’t move beyond their disagreement. (More on Time.com: Mind Reading: How the New Science of Adult Attachment Can Improve Your Love Life)
The researchers dug back into their data from the 1970s and observed a connection between the way the couples recovered from conflict and how securely attached they were to their caregivers — who were mostly their mothers — at 12 and 18 months old. Those babies who were easily soothed by their mothers as infants grew into adults who were better able to regulate their negative emotions after a conflict.
Also see Is It In Your Interest To Let Your Partner’s Eye Wander?, Does Your Body Posture Affect Your Confidence?, Do You Schadenfreude?, Are You Really Who You Think You Are? and Can Being Too Happy Kill You?