Belfast Telegraph

Women happiest when their partner is upset

By James Orr

Wives or girlfriends can feel happy when they see their husband or partner is upset, research suggests.

Women are pleased when a partner shows emotion because they believe it signifies a healthy relationship, a survey by Harvard Medical School concludes.

It also reports that, when men realise their wife is angry, the women are happier, although the men are not.

Women most likely enjoy seeing when their partner is dissatisfied because it shows his strong "engagement" or "investment" in their time together.

Dr Shiri Cohen, the study's lead author, said: "It could be that for women, seeing that their male partner is upset reflects some degree of the man's investment and emotional engagement in the relationship, even in difficult times.

"This is consistent with what is known about the dissatisfaction women often experience when their male partner becomes emotionally withdrawn and disengaged in response to conflict."

Committed

The study, published by the American Psychological Association, recruited a diverse range of 156 heterosexual couples for the research.

More than 100 of the younger, urban, couples were in a committed, but not necessarily a married, relationship. Other couples who varied in the way they resolved conflict and controlled emotions were also chosen, while the remaining participants were older, middle-class and married.

In total, 71pc of those questioned were white, 56pc were married and the average length of their relationships was three-and-a-half years.

During the study, each participant was asked to describe an incident with their partner over the previous two months that had been frustrating, disappointing or upsetting.

The researchers recorded the participants making a brief statement summarising the incident and then brought the couples together to play each other's admissions.

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