When you keep score you set yourself up to be competing with your partner. By default, this means you won’t be happy when your partner shares good news. How can you be? If you’re competing and they do well, it means you’re losing! So, instead of being happy that your partner got a promotion, you end up thinking (or saying): “Well, good for you that you got a promotion and now get to travel to Europe for work. I’ll just be stuck at home taking care of the kids!”
In my experience, lots of couples do pretty well when the going gets really rough. I mean when those big things take place or when those really huge decisions need to happen. This is even a time when couples can feel closer than ever. However, these big bad times aren’t common (hopefully) so the bonding is short-lived.
What the research shows is even MORE important is being there when the going gets good! Being there for your mate when the going goes right is actually more important for relationship satisfaction and happiness.
We psychologists have a special word for this desire to share happy events. It’s called capitalization and it strengthens our bonds with other people.
The research shows that just by sharing their good news with other people you end up feeling more positive and more satisfied with life, you gain better self-esteem, and it’ll decrease any loneliness.
Now, here’s something crazy. Research by Shelley Gable and Jonathan Haidt suggests that we actually have three times more positive experiences than negative.
So, why are we often focused on the bad? There are 3 main reasons: our negativity bias, habituation and cultural reasons.
Studies have found that the way you respond to your partner’s good news is the most crucial factor in tightening your bond or undermining it. So, you’ve got to make sure that you’re your partner’s biggest support!
Are you ready to have face-to-face time with me and dive deeper into how competition is showing up in your relationship? I’m offering the very first in my Classroom Series where I’ll teach and answer all your questions live!