Study: Enhance romance by going out with other couples

February 10, 2011, Wayne State University

Romantic relationships often start out as enjoyable or even exciting, but sometimes may become routine and boring. A Wayne State University study reveals that dating couples that integrate other couples into their social lives are more likely to have happy and satisfying romantic relationships.

Richard B. Slatcher, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in WSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a resident of Birmingham, Mich., specializes in social and health psychology. His recent research suggests that spending quality time with other couples may be an important way to improve long-term dating relationships.

His study, "When Harry and Sally met Dick and Jane: Experimentally creating closeness between couples," which recently appeared in Personal Relationships, investigated 60 dating couples in a controlled laboratory setting. The object was to better understand how between couples are formed, and to learn how these friendships affected each couple's romantic relationship.

Each couple was paired with another couple and given a set of questions to discuss as a group. Half of the groups were given high-disclosure questions intended to spark intense discussion, while the other half were given small-talk questions that focused on everyday, unemotional activities.

"In this study, we discovered that those couples who were placed in the "fast friends" group felt closer to the couples they interacted with, and were more likely actually to meet up with them again during the following month," said Slatcher. "We also learned that these same couples felt that this friendship put a spark in their own relationships, and they felt much closer to their ."

The couples in the high-disclosure group reported greater increases in after the intense interaction. They also felt the interaction was more novel and that they learned new things about their romantic partner compared to couples in the small-talk group. In addition, one-third of the couples in the high-disclosure group contacted the other couple they met in the study, while none of the in the small-talk group initiated contact with the couple they had met.

"This study suggests that if your romantic relationship has a case of the doldrums, having fun with another couple may help make your own relationship more satisfying," said Slatcher.

More information: To review the full study, visit www.richslatcher.com/papers/Slatcher_PR_2010.pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

When it comes to our brains, there's no such thing as normal

February 20, 2018
There's nothing wrong with being a little weird. Because we think of psychological disorders on a continuum, we may worry when our own ways of thinking and behaving don't match up with our idealized notion of health. But ...

Jymmin: How a combination of exercise and music helps us feel less pain

February 20, 2018
Pain is essential for survival. However, it could also slow the progress of rehabilitation, or in its chronic form could become a distinct disorder. How strongly we feel it, among other factors, depends on our individual ...

College roommates underestimate each other's distress, new psychology research shows

February 19, 2018
College roommates are sensitive to their roommates' distress but tend to underestimate the level of distress being experienced by others, finds a newly published study from New York University psychology researchers.

Brainwaves show how exercising to music bends your mind

February 18, 2018
Headphones are a standard sight in gyms and we've long known research shows listening to tunes can be a game-changer for your run or workout.

New approaches in neuroscience show it's not all in your head

February 16, 2018
Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives. But experience is highly subjective. What's distressing or joyful to one person may be very different to another.

Link between hallucinations and dopamine not such a mystery, finds study

February 16, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) found that people with schizophrenia who experience auditory hallucinations tend to hear what they expect, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.