Changing Partners Doesn't Change Relationship Dynamics

Posted on August 30, 2019

A longitudinal study on romantic relationships in Germany found that having different partners often leads to similar relationship patterns after the novelty of being in a new relationship dies down. The eight-year long study was conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta, consisting of 554 individuals as it follows them through their romantic relationships.

Data of participants were collected at four points – a year before their first relationship ended, the year their relationship ended, the first year of their new relationship and a year after the new relationship started. Relationship satisfaction, frequency of sexual encounters, confidence in the longevity of the relationship, frequency in which they expressed appreciation for the other party and the willingness to confide in partner were all aspects of a relationship that was measured in the study.

Matthew Johnson, one of the researchers involved in the study, mentioned that while some aspects of the relationship may vary with different partners, the individual is still the same. Therefore, it is likely that the individual will induce similar relationship dynamics in their new romance.

Results indicated a consistency across both relationships in all aspects except for the sex frequency and showing appreciation for one’s partner. The two aspects increased in the more recent relationship, as these areas are more dependent on the partner’s behavior. However, sexual satisfaction of participants remained generally similar despite higher frequency of engaging in sexual activities.

Researchers concluded that participants ultimately had similar relationship dynamics with their new partners as in their previous relationships after the initial honeymoon stage had passed. As things usually do not go well at the end of a relationship, embarking on a new romance always feels great initially as we do not involve our partner in our daily lives yet. This may not be an entirely bad thing. It shows that we are able to remain as ourselves and bring our past experiences into our new relationships.

The research also found that participants with negative affect tend to have a worse time in their second relationship, as they reported having lower relationship and sexual satisfaction, have sex with their partners less often and engaged in more conflicts.

In conclusion, this study shows that it is important to ensure that we are not learning from our past mistakes as we might fall back into the same routine. Things may be different in our new relationships, but they may not be better. It is also crucial to manage our personal difficulties, as it can have a large effect on our future relationships as well. Adopting a balanced mindset of positive and negative expectations towards relationships will enable us to be more successful in having a lasting romance.

Category(s):Ending a relationship issues, Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Science Daily