All couples fight. Some even make up. (And we know the benefits of making up). But what determines how well a couple will recover from disruptions in their relationship? An intriguing new study suggests that patterns set in infancy may play out many decades later when we are bickering about who will take out the trash.
According to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science, people who were more securely attached to their caregivers as infants were better at recovering from conflict.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota followed a cohort of people from birth until they were adults and then had them visit the lab with their romantic partners.
They were observed in a conflict discussion – when they were asked to talk about a topic of disagreement – then followed during a cool-down period. Finally, they were observed while discussing something they agreed on.
The people who were securely attached as infants recovered faster. Generally, they were the ones whose caregivers were best at regulating negative emotions. As adults, these infants had that same trait.