There is an interesting study that has just been released from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. The researchers report that if the woman is a relationship is very verbally assertive, and the man the more submission of the two, then the couple is thought of as less likeable and the entire relationship is in jeopardy.
The researchers set out to test the belief that this perception of the couple as being not likeable is a result of the expectation that the man is supposed to be the dominate half of the couple, especially when it comes to verbal expression.
There were 95 participants in the study, 45 men and 50 women all students at the college. They all watched 4 videos of married couples in which they either had an argument, or gave a description of one. In the first one, the spouse, which could be either the wife of the husband, who was the one who was verbally assertive, was heard discussing a conflict that they had had with another member of their family.
In the second one they saw and heard a conflict between the couple in which the submissive partner, again it could have been either the husband or the wife, made them later for an appointment because he or she chose to sit and balance the checkbook instead of getting ready to go out.
In the third one, the submissive partner was the one who discussed a conflict with another member of the family. He or she discussed how some action that the family member took made him or her extremely angry, but nevertheless, he or she did not respond to the person. And in the last video, the couple is in their kitchen when the submissive partner becomes both extremely angry as well as frustrated, but instead of talking back, he or she simply tosses a dishtowel, gets up and leaves.
The participants were very critical when the woman was to dominate partner. They just plain did not like the couple and they described the man as being less competent, but when it was the man who was the dominate partner, even if the conversation was exactly the same as it was when the woman dominated, the participants expressed a liking for the couple to the extent that they said that it was a couple they felt they could be friends with.
And the negative feelings came from both the men as well as the women participants.
As far as the couples are concerned, the way others perceive them to be adds on extra pressure which in turn puts an extra strain on the relationship. When the woman is the dominate partner, they do not have the support from friends and family that could help them overcome problems.
The lead researcher is Dr. Jennifer Sellers, who is an assistant professor of psychology at Green Mountain College.
source: Green Mountain College http://newswise.com/