If you can't stop fighting with your partner, listen up.
Do you find yourself getting upset, then calming down pretty quickly once the issue has been resolved? Or do you stay mad for hours, plotting ways to prove the other person wrong?
New research has shown that how you handle conflict in your romantic life may have less to do with your relationship and more to do with how you were raised.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota tracked a group of babies born in the 1970s through adulthood, keeping tabs on everything in their lives, starting with their relationship with their parents.
Some babies had a secure attachment to their parents, meaning that when their parents walked away from them, they kept playing normally but glanced up to see what was happening, and some babies had an insecure attachment, meaning that when their parents walked away, they panicked instantly. Attachment styles are formed based on a lot of factors, including things like how quickly parents respond to their children and the child's personality style.
This study found that the babies who had a secure attachment style were much more adept at recovering from conflict as adults. The researchers concluded that babies with secure attachment to their parents learn more ways to regulate negative emotions, and those skills stay with them for life.
But if you had a tough childhood, hope is not lost: The researchers also found that romantic partners in adulthood can do wonders in teaching more appropriate conflict skills, and that sometimes, romantic partners were the perfect thing to undo those negative patterns.
So next time you're fighting with your partner, take a minute to think about whether or not you're fighting this specific fight, or a fight you've been fighting since childhood.