How laughter affects a couple's relationship
How do you relate to laughter? Some people are afraid of being laughed at and negatively associate with it, while others may provoke laughter towards them, seeing it as a sign of appreciation. The third variable describing a person’s relationship with laughter is when they enjoy laughing at others. Research has shown that people look for a romantic partner with a sense of humour, but how does laughter across these three variables affect relationship satisfaction?
The researchers found that being laughed at has positive effects, especially in women, who tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt attracted to their partner.
Psychologists from Martin Luther University conducted a study that involved 154 heterosexual couples. The participants separately answered questions about their relationship in an online interview. They were asked questions about their relationship satisfaction — whether they argued often and how satisfied they were with their sex life. The researchers also asked if participants like to laugh at others and how they handled being laughed at.
The researchers found that being laughed at has positive effects, especially in women, who tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt attracted to their partner. They and their partners were found to be equally satisfied with their sex life, too. Being laughed at was also negatively associated with relationship satisfaction for people who fear being laughed at. These individuals are less content in their relationships and tend to mistrust their partner. This also affected their partners — men particularly did not feel satisfied with their sex life if their partner was afraid of being laughed at. The researchers did not find any association between relationship satisfaction and people who liked to ridicule others. However, such couples tend to argue often.
How you handle laughter is just one indicator of the nature of your relationship, according to the psychologists. There are various other factors that contribute to a successful and happy relationship. But having an insight into how partners handle being laughed at can be useful for couples therapy and relationship counselling.
Source: Journal of Research in Personality
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