When an issue has come up in a relationship of yours, how did you handle it? Are you an avoidant type, hoping it will fade with time as you don't want to face the possibility for conflict? Or do you mention it right away, refusing to let it go until it's dealt with as soon as possible?
Your answer might determine how likely you are to maintain a happy marriage. In fact, research has proven that having a certain personality trait may be all it takes to guarantee marital bliss.
Our histories can play a major part in how we behave in relationships today, as trauma can silently poison our lives in ways we can't untangle alone. To learn where to start untangling these issues, all you need to do is take this simple quiz.
Maintaining a successful marriage takes a lot of work. Even if two people are exactly perfect for one another, there are still issues that will arise and compromises that will need to be met in order for things to continue. After all, life changes every day, most of the time in ways that are out of our control. Needing to do some repairs along the way isn't indicative of a bad or mismanaged relationship!
All that said, there are some qualities that can predispose certain couples to higher rates of long-term success right out the gate.
One Above The Rest
In fact, a study has proven that there's one personality type in particular that are more likely to end up in happier marriages, as they tend to have less marital issues both initially and over time.
The study involved 112 couples who were asked about their individual levels of shyness and how happy they are in their marriages. Some of the couples were also tracked over the course of six months so they could measure any potential correlations.
As it turns out, those who reported low levels of shyness also reported happier marriages compared to those with high levels of shyness.
Though the exact reason why wasn't deduced, there are a number of social factors at play here. The 'less shy' people were read as extroverts, or at least heavily compared to them, and extroverts are more likely to be confident in bringing up issues and dealing with potential conflicts than shier folk.
Holding Onto Problems
As such, they have fewer long-term issues and are generally more satisfied in their relationships as they tackle things as soon as they arise.
On the contrary, the couples containing two shy people weren't just in a neutral state, as it was discovered that they actually tend to have the most issues in their marriages. Specifically, they reported jealousy, money, household management, and trust to be common points of contention between them and their partner.
Bleeding Into Romance
This time, researchers believed it's not just due to conflict avoidance being more common in shy personality types, but because they also tend to have a higher level of general anxiety. Not only are they not addressing real problems, but they also get ahead of themselves in anxious thought cycles and make up issues that they believe exist behind the scenes, even when they don't.
This isn't the only study that proves this either. A few years after the first one was published, a second study that sampled over 14,000 couples reported similar results.
A Second Go
In this study, the couples were asked to rate their own and their partner's levels of shyness and self-esteem. They were also asked about their overall level of relationship satisfaction.
What they found is that perceived shyness from a partner was able to predict low self-esteem and low relationship satisfaction from that partner. For example, if a husband reported his wife as being shy, it was extremely likely the wife would report both low self-esteem and low satisfaction.
Some Other Possibilities
These results further proved the idea that shyness can be a real detriment not only to an individual's happiness and self-esteem, but it can actually negatively affect their relationships too, setting them on a path of self-defeat before they ever got off the ground.
This study's authors had their own theories for why this is the case, with a big focus on only one half of a relationship being shy. In this type of couple, there's a distinct lack of shared experiences, as the shy person is far less likely to want to pursue the same activities as their extroverted partner. They may also feel insecure about their extroverted partner's ability to talk to people, make friends, or develop socially, leading them to feel left behind and harbor a negative feeling toward the relationship.
Hope To Be Had
Does this mean that shy people are doomed to terrible relationships forever? Of course not!
These studies don't mean that shy people are worthless in dating and have no good qualities, it just means they struggle with things that more social counterparts might not.
Shy people tend to be more creative thinkers, and have high emotional intelligence. They're wonderful listeners, pragmatic planners, and can be a loving, grounding force for their partners to return to in times of outside stress.
The author of the first study believes there's plenty of potential for shy people in relationships, writing, "There is hope even though shyness itself might be resistant to change. People can be taught to have more efficacy in how to resolve the specific marital problems they face. As a consequence, any marital difficulties prompted by personality can be prevented by explicit training on dealing with marital problems."
The second study's author also sees a bright future in this line of research, hoping other studies are conducted to learn more about these dynamics. "By doing so, it is hoped that attention will be given to the need to help shy individuals and their partners in order to foster positive relationships."
There's Always An Opportunity
No one is hopeless when it comes to love. Not shy people, not extroverts, nobody. Everyone has the capacity to love and receive love inside them should they so choose, it's just about working past those things that create conflict in their relationships.
Maybe it stems from a previous trauma, or maybe it's a certain behavior pattern ingrained in their mind since they were a kid. Though it may take some work, not to mention a lot of time, learning how we uniquely navigate love will open the doors to fruitful future romances that feel fresh, welcoming, and comfortable.
There are also special techniques you can learn that can help the love you've been waiting for finally come your way. You may have already done enough work on yourself, but how can you use that to find a quality partner who's at your level?