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Think You Have a Perfect Partner? That's a Good Sign
Date:3/12/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Forget that warning about rose-colored glasses setting you up for disappointment in romantic relationships.

Those who are unrealistically idealistic about their partners are more satisfied with their marriage than the realists, new research contends.

The idealization seems to thwart the commonly found decline in satisfaction that strikes marriages over time, said study author Dr. Sandra Murray, a professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

"If you didn't consider idealization at all, in this sample, as in many others, satisfaction declined on average" over the course of the three-year study, she said.

"But if you looked at the people relatively high versus low on idealization, people who are relatively high don't show any decline," she said.

What's going on? The positive outlook -- giving your partner more credit than what might be due, and seeing your partner as a closer reflection of your ideal partner than what might be true -- could help when things turn thorny, Murray said.

All that positive thinking, she added, perhaps "colors the way they perceive their partner's behavior. It [perhaps] gives them a stronger sense of optimism that they can resolve problems within the relationship."

For the study, reported in the April issue of Psychological Science, Murray recruited 222 couples as they applied for their marriage licenses in Buffalo, N.Y. They were, on average, about 27 years old, with family incomes of about $40,000 to $70,000 a year.

After some dropped out, 193 couples finished at least three of the seven waves of evaluation, she said. (Eleven separated or divorced.) Participants completed surveys about themselves, their partners and their marriages every six months for three years.

By comparing the information given on each person by themselves
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