For better romantic and sexual relationships, be true to yourself
People in recovery from alcoholism, addiction or codependency will know the state of being separated from their ‘real’ selves. Its as if there are two people acting for you – your true self and a stranger. A feeling that probably extended the dysfunctional behaviour.
Be true to yourself, and better romantic relationships will follow, research suggests, thus improving sexuality.
A new study examined how dating relationships were affected by the ability of people to see themselves clearly and objectively, act in ways consistent with their beliefs, and interact honestly and truthfully with others.
In other words, the ability to follow the words of William Shakespeare: “to thine own self be true,” said Amy Brunell, lead author of the study.
Findings showed that college students who reported being more true to themselves also reported more positive dating relationships.
“If you’re true to yourself, it is easier to act in ways that build intimacy in relationships, and that’s going to make your relationship more fulfilling,” Brunell said.
The study appears online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences and will be published in an upcoming print edition.
Participating in the study were 62 heterosexual couples, all of whom were college students. The participants completed a long list of questionnaires in three separate sessions that took place about two weeks apart.
The first set of questionnaires probed how true participants were to themselves. This was measured through the answers to questions like “For better or for worse, I am aware of who I truly am.”
In the second phase, participants answered questions examining various aspects of their relationship functioning, including their willingness to discuss their emotions with their partner, and whether they kept secrets.
The third phase involved measures of relationship satisfaction and personal well-being.
Overall, the study found that both men and women who reported being more true to themselves also behaved in more intimate and less destructive ways with their partner, and that led to them feeling their relationship was more positive. In addition, they also reported greater personal well-being.
The study confirmed findings from other studies that show that when men or women act in constructive, healthy ways in a relationship, it increases their partners’ satisfaction with the relationship.
Brunell said being true to yourself doesn’t mean that you should accept all of your flaws and not try to make positive changes in your life. But you should be aware of both your limitations and areas where you can improve. One payoff could be better romantic relationships.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise, but being true to yourself is linked to having healthier and happier relationships for both men and women,” she said.
From a press release at Eurekalert