As adults, we know that some relationships are capable of standing the test of time, while others, well, sometimes the third, fourth, or even fifth time is the charm. The problem is, how are we to know what will come of a relationship? We’re only human, after all. Well, a recent study published by Evolutionary Psychology conducted by M. Apostolou suggests six categories of behaviors that may predict relationship termination. Let’s dig in!
Here is a rundown of what the study looked like:
Sample: 233 Greek-speaking students (132 women) at a university in Cyprus; average of 31 years old; 39% in a relationship and 27% single.
Methods: Participants responded to the question, “Please indicate some things your partner is likely to do which would negatively affect your willingness to stay in relationship with him/her.”
Sample: 536 Greek-speaking students (321 women); average age of 32 years old; 40% in a relationship and 37% single; 28% with children.
Methods: Participants read the following: “You can find below some things your current or future partner might do. Indicate to what extent they would negatively affect your willingness to continue your relationship with him/her.”
They then received a list of behaviors (obtained from the previous study) to rate.
The results? A total of 88 factors were found to negatively impact the willingness to stay in a relationship. Those 88 factors were then organized into the following six categories:
- Controlling (being pushy, critical, manipulative, jealous, competitive).
- Doesn’t seem to care (lack of attention and interest, selfish and narcissistic tendencies, taking his/her partner for granted, not respecting the other person’s needs or views).
- Exhibits potentially abusive behavior (whining, yelling, cursing, being rough)
- Appears to be interested in other people (talking to his/her ex, flirting with others, cheating, having affairs).
- Generally undesirable traits (laziness, stinginess, lack of ambition, emotional immaturity).
- Not good with kids (rarely takes good care of children or spends enough time with them).
According to new research, among these six categories, the ones that have the most negative impact on a relationship, in order, are #2, #6, and #1.
A few things to keep in mind, however, is that women more than men rated these factors more negatively which could have something to do with women being more selective when choosing long-term significant others. Singles, rather than those in a relationship, rated these factors more negatively. And lastly, the biggest sex difference was found for factor #2, which could signal a lack of commitment.
Now, these are only speculations, but regardless of where you’re at relationship-wise, these findings are certainly something to think about.