Lack of gratitude tied to lower relationship satisfaction

The title above may seem obvious, but researchers have found the underlying cause of why certain people cannot have healthy romantic relationships, leaving them feeling less happy about it. According to a new article published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, some partners’ sense of gratitude for the other partner controls the level of the former’s satisfaction with romantic relationships and attachment avoidance.

The study

Researchers at Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management surveyed 362 participants who had been in a relationship of at least six months with an average length of 6.28 years. They asked participants if they agree with such statements as:

  • When I look at my partner, I don’t see much to be grateful for
  • Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to my partner

What does it mean?

The researchers concluded being grateful for one’s partner resulted in the most satisfying romantic relationship. They also added the sage advice: Focus on the positive aspects of your partner or spouse and be grateful for these. Ironically, partners who have a lack of gratitude are also unable to reciprocate grateful actions, statements and behavior in a spouse. This means that they cannot give or receive kindness or meet expectations. Instead, they respond by creating such defensive strategies as inducing feelings of guilt, dominating and clinging.

No simple solutions

A partner or spouse may recognize this behavior, but often there no easy answers for overcoming these issues. While working with a therapist is an excellent first step, not everyone is willing to do it. This can leave the relationship to wither and die. When this happens, there is little left to do but break up or file for divorce. Those curious about beginning the process may want to start by talking to an experienced family attorney who handles divorce here in Colorado.

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