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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

your partner is annoying? it will get worse...

New research suggests couples view one another as even more irritating and demanding the longer they are together....

The study results could be a consequence of accumulated contact with a spouse, such that the nitpicking or frequent demands that once triggered just a mild chafe develops into a major pain. But accumulated irritation has its silver lining....

Rather than breeding unhappy couples and ill health, the increase in negativity could be a normal part of relationships.

"Because we found that pattern was overall among the participants, it appears to be normative. It's not something unusual that happens," Birditt said.

Am I reading this right? Long-term monogamous relationships are supposed to suck?

In Against Love: A Polemic Laura Kipnis, a Norwestern U. academic, argues that our culture uses marriage and monogamy as a device to control individual behavior. And that people who cheat on their partners are at least subconsciously subversives challenging the dominant paradigm.

Based on seeing Kipnis at a book fair and interviewing her, I got the impression she took her ideas less than seriously. She probably would have been happy to be in a monogamous relationship with her man preferably staying faithful.

That said, the author can be inconsistent with her ideas and still her ideas embody some truth.

I did like that Kipnis questioned the ideology that relationships are supposed to be work. She asked the question, how much work is reasonable for something that's supposed to be enjoyable and a refuge from work?

Back to the research discussed in the MSNBC article: it seems like the journalist and perhaps the researcher approached the issue with a pro-monogamy bias.

"Yeah, many relationships get worse over time, but I believe that monogamous relationships are supposed to last forever so I'm going to construct an explanation that reconciles the facts (relationships get worse) with my ideology (the gold standard for the quality of a relationship is that it lasts for a long time)."


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