Who do you think has it easier? Men or women? Life can seem pretty easy for guys; basically no chores, endless hours of ESPN, and probably not much studying if they feel so inclined. But what about for girls? While we may stress about finals and prefer to watch “The Bachelor” rather than WW-Watchamacallit—girls appreciate some of the finer things in life like a decadent dessert, a cute new dress, and a fun night out with friends. Either way, studies have shown that men and women are equally happy in their levels of happiness and self-esteem.
Taking the “Psychology of Intimate Relationships” with Professor Benjamin Karney (who will be doing an interview on my blog soon so keep an eye out!) while sitting alongside seven of my sorority sisters has taught me a lot about love and the battle of the sexes so far. We all want to be in intimate relationships not only in college but throughout our lives (unless you’re asexual maybe?), but it takes an understanding (or at least an attempt) at understanding ourselves and our partners if we want to have successful relationships and feel happy in them.
In a way, the class has been a bit discouraging. Actually, it’s been very discouraging. We’ve seen multiple graphs showing how marriages get progressively less happy after the first year, especially after the stork has arrived on a couple’s doorstep. Furthermore, women are almost always less happy than her male partner throughout the marriage. But let’s remember, statistics DO NOT equal self-prophecy!
There are so many factors that go into a happy and fulfilling relationship but there are two key components that lead to commitment according to Intimate Relationships by Thomas Bradbury and Benjamin Karney. The first being satisfaction, which is what all couples ideally strive toward. Having a desire to be close, to trust your partner and enjoy your time spent together—those are all terms that encompass the word “satisfaction.” But the other factor is dependency. While this word can have a positive meaning, it can often take on a negative connotation when in the context of abuse. Because of things like physical and mental violence, it can leave a person feeling dependent because they would feel too threatened or too much in danger if they were to leave the relationship. In fact, about 20% of potential divorce couples end up reuniting because they have a high level of dependence on each other. For better or for worse?
At this age, hopefully relationships are based on love, trust, and a genuine happiness. Who’s to say what the future holds, but I hope for you and for myself that we will be in the 50% batch that stays in their marriage rather than leaves it. People find more joy in their relationships than in any other aspect of their life so let’s make it the best choice that we’ve ever made.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
Keep an eye out for the new website, www.thesunnygirl.com where there will be fresh ideas, fresh faces, and a fresh perspective on finding your personal happiness!