Reflecting on memories with an ex can improve a current relationship

Want to improve your relationship? Think about your EX: Reflecting on nostalgic moments with a previous partner can help couples get on better, study claims

  • Researchers asked volunteers to reflect on happy memories with an ex
  • Afterwards, they reported higher satisfaction with their current relationship
  • These volunteers also said they felt they had grown since their last partner
  • This feeling is increased their appreciation for their current partner

A disagreement about whose responsibility it was to pre-heat the oven for the turkey can be enough to bring even the strongest couples down.

But experts are claiming that thinking about happy times with the Exes of Christmas Past could help resolve any festive feuds. 

Psychologists at the University of Kansas asked volunteers to reflect on nostalgic memories with a former partner.

This subsequently made them think more positively about their current relationship, as it made them aware of how much they had grown since then.

Psychologists at the University of Kansas in the USA asked volunteers to reflect on nostalgic memories with a former partner (stock image)

Psychologists at the University of Kansas in the USA asked volunteers to reflect on nostalgic memories with a former partner.

Those who were able to do this showed an increase in satisfaction in their current relationship, and more motivation to stick with it. 

The team also probed the reason for this, by asking the volunteers how much they feel they have grown since their former relationship.

Individuals who reported an increase in relationship satisfaction also felt they had grown since their past one.

The researchers think this is because this feeling increased their appreciation of their current partner.

In the study, the researchers wrote: ‘Fond nostalgic memories about past relationships remind people of the positivity of romantic relationships.

‘We found it led to an increase in the perceived quality of current partnerships.

‘These memories can be triggered by an ex-lover’s favourite song or movie.

‘But if the break-up of the previous relationship was too painful, people may resist recalling nostalgic memories.’

The team’s aim was to see if there were any positive implications of fondly looking back at time spent with an ex-partner, as much research has suggested otherwise.

Last year, a study from the University of Oklahoma found that keeping a former flame on the ‘back-burner’ leads to negative feelings towards both them and yourself.

Scientists have also discovered that one of the primary reasons for doing so are lingering romantic feelings, and results in ‘negative outcomes’.

Indeed, ‘lurking’ on an ex’s social media has been found to ‘negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life’, especially around Christmas time.

For their study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, the researchers asked 167 individuals to take part in three experiments.

Each of these made them first think about happy memories with an ex, by reading blog posts from strangers fondly looking back at past relationships.

The study’s  results showed an increase in satisfaction and motivation in those who were able to reminisce about good times with an ex (stock image)

The volunteers were then asked questions about their relationship satisfaction and love for their current partner, as well as the extent of their motivation to stick with it. 

The results showed an increase in satisfaction and motivation in those who were able to reminisce about good times with an ex. 

The team also probed the reason for this by asking the volunteers how much they feel they have grown since their former relationship.

‘We found that perception of self-growth mediated the positive effects of reflecting on nostalgic memories about an ex-partner on perceived current relationship quality and approach motivation in the current relationship,’ they wrote.

They conclude that feeling you have matured since your break-up increases your appreciation of your current partner.

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And, research has shown people tell your dating intentions from your WEIGHT, and larger people are seen as more interested in long-term relationships.

Schoolchildren should be taught to counteract ‘Disneyfied’ portrayals of love, scientists claim 

Ask any child their favourite film, and there is quite a high chance they will name a Disney movie, like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ or ‘Aladdin’.

However, experts believe that these films are giving them the wrong idea about what a healthy relationship looks like.

In ‘Aladdin’, the hero whisks Princess Jasmine away from restrictive palace life, while ‘Cinderella’, ‘Snow White’, and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ all involve a young girl being saved by a ‘handsome prince’.

Researchers at the University of Exeter surveyed young people and found they had the desire to learn skills to help them develop relationships at school.

Read more here 

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