Women’s self-esteem suffers more than men’s as romantic relationships progress
For people in romantic relationships, how do their feelings about themselves and their lives change over time? If their romantic relationship is a marriage, do they really live happily ever after? What if they are just dating or cohabiting? Suppose the partnership is a new one, formed after a previous one ended—do coupled people do better at relationships over time, after they’ve had some previous romantic relationship experience? Women are supposed to be the romantic relationship specialists, according to our stereotypes. Compared to men, they supposedly feel more and more satisfied with their lives as their relationships progress, and they supposedly enjoy greater boosts to their self-esteem, too. But do they really?
All of those questions and more were addressed in “Subjective well-being across partnerships,” a report published in the June 2021 issue of the Journal of Family Psychology. Matthew D. Johnson of the University of Alberta and two colleagues from Germany, Franz J. Neyer and Christine Finn, analyzed data from a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of Germans. For this investigation, the social scientists focused on 554 people who were in two romantic partnerships over the course of the study.
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