Self-preservation can make us do all sorts of things to make ourselves feel safe. For example, you can push unpleasant memories to the ‘back of your mind’, you can pick fault with others to justify your own drug-taking (legal or illegal) and you can neglect to help a fellow human being bullied or beaten for fear of embroiling yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Whilst the motivation behind psychological or physical self-preservation tactics may make sense to us in one way in that immediate situation, it doesn’t mean we always do what’s right, even for ourselves, in the long-run.
When your focus in a romantic relationship is on self-preservation, things like compassion for your partner, thoughtful behaviours, and ownership of your mistakes, can become a distant thought. Such thoughts, feelings and behaviours can sabotage your own well-being, your partner’s well-being and your relationship. On the other hand, when your focus in a romantic relationship is on ‘us-preservation’, things like compassion, thoughtful behaviours, and ownership of your mistakes, become more of a priority. This focus results in thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can serve your own well-being, your partner’s well-being and your relationship.
But what happens when you think your relationship is going to end, for example, because your sister says, ‘I can’t see you two lasting’, or because in the midst of a long-winded argument your partner spits out, ‘I think maybe we should divorce’? What drives your subsequent thoughts and behaviours, aside from your feelings for your partner? Self-preservation?
Recent research by Sciara and Pantaleo (2017) highlights that when we believe our romantic relationship is going to end, we can start to feel less committed to the relationship and have weakening romantic feelings for our partner, but not always.
One-hundred and four participants took part in the study. Some were manipulated into believing…FULL ARTICLE ON HUFFPOST HERE