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We're emotionally distant and that's just fine by me
Date:2/13/2013

espondent reported feeling "too close for comfort" or "not close enough." Surprisingly, the negative effects of closeness discrepancies were evident regardless of how close people felt to their partners; what mattered was the discrepancy, not the closeness.

Over the two-year study period, some respondents' experiences of closeness became aligned with their ideals. In such cases, their relationship quality and mental health improved. The inverse was also true. Those who increasingly felt "too close" or "not close enough" over time were more likely to grow unhappy in their relationships and ultimately break up with their partners.

Closeness discrepancies could shape new approaches to psychotherapy, both for couples and individuals, because it takes seriously real differences in the amount of closeness people want in their relationships, says Dr. Frost, a psychologist and professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School.

"It's best not to make too many assumptions about what constitutes a healthy relationship," he says. "Rather, we need to hear from people about how close they are in their relationships and how that compares to how close they'd ideally like to be."

Ongoing studies are looking at the issue of closeness discrepancies from both sides of a relationship to see how someone's sense of relationship closeness might differ from their partners, whether someone's closeness discrepancy affects their partners, and how it affects their sex life. The concept could also be extended to non-romantic relationships such as co-workers, parent-child, and patient-provider interactions.


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Contact: Timothy S. Paul
tp2111@columbia.edu
212-305-2676
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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