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The Shocking Behavior That's Bad For Relationships

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man and woman on the couch
Why backing off (for a bit) may be better for your relationship.

Attention, married women: If your husband seems angst-ridden or huffy, you might want to hold off on the advice in favor of a simple hug. And guys, despite how it may bruise your ego, you've got to continue being attentive even when your wife cruelly shoots down your attempts at making her feel better.

According to a series of studies published by the University of Iowa, an excess of incorrectly-expressed support is worse for your marriage than neglect—shocking, right? A related study showed that husbands were more satisfied when they received the "right" kind of encouragement, while wives were content to receive ANY kind of help during a time of need. 6 Ways To Be Extra-Supportive

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Just what is the "right" type of support, though? The UI study, which followed 103 married heterosexual couples over the course of five years, pinpointed four different types of support:

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  1. Emotional and physical support (listening, hugging, sympathizing)
  2. Informational support (giving advice, collecting information)
  3. Self-esteem support (pep talks)
  4. Tangible support (doing chores, figuring out solutions to problems)

Surveys showed that informational support, especially in the form of unsolicited counsel, may not always be well-received, while sincere encouragement was basically failproof. We suppose that's common sense for anybody; how would you like it if your partner spouted off something like, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" after you were laid off from work? Or, after gaining a few unwanted pounds, they brought up the national obesity rate? "Don't feel bad, honey, you're not the only fat one," isn't exactly comforting. 7 Phrases Men Love To Hear

We're pleased that actual research disproves the notion that loving couples intuitively know how to comfort each other at all times. We can't have said it better than Erika Lawrence, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: 

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