Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes Before Reacting to Bad Behavior
What to do about bad behavior by partner? Give them a break or breakup?
Most couples have bad behavior by partner experiences, and want to know what to do.
When your partner behaves badly, your first instinct may be to retaliate. What could help you respond more healthily? In a series of studies, romantically-involved individuals responded to scenarios wherein their partner acted in a hurtful way (e.g., bringing them to a family reunion but then ignoring them). People who took their partner’s perspective (vs. their own) reacted with more love- and caring-related emotions, better understood their partner’s viewpoint, and tried to find positive solutions to the issue. Perspective-takers also responded with less anger, blamed their partner less, and avoided lashing out. Thus, perspective-taking can help you navigate relationship conflict.1
The question remains then: When you have a bad behavior by partner experience, what are you likely to do?
1Arriaga, X. B., & Rusbult, C. E. (1998). Standing in my partner’s shoes: Partner perspective taking and reactions to accommodative dilemmas. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 927-948.
- You’re Not Crazy to Accept and Tolerate Annoying Things About Each Other
- 8 Rules for Fighting Fairly and Respectfully Resolving Conflicts
- How can we have a fair fight when we disagree? (multiple videos from different experts)
- Take Control Of Your Repeated Arguments
- Five Stupid Things All Couples Argue About
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