Balancing Your Emotions Leads To Better Relationship And Sexual Satisfaction, Says Study
What is a healthy relationship? One in which the participants learn to adapt and grow while finding ways to navigate through their troubles. Of course, that’s not all but that’s a major part. When my ex and I started dating, the fights were not very pleasant, often emotionally volatile. My emotion were very prompt and not thought out. If I felt bad about something, I would get mad, maybe teary, and just really, really pissed. He, on the other hand, would hide in a shell, cutting off from the situation emotionally. That made me angrier and more uneasy. I felt like our fights were heavily toxic.
But with time, we learnt how to balance out our reactions to an uncomfortable situation. I’d take my time to process my feelings and when I did, he’d be there, sometimes staying up all night to talk things out. Our communication blocks cleared and we realised it was so much better if we were more aware of our feelings and needs. We made a pact – that we will delay reaction and then discuss it. We found a balance, our emotions regulated and it worked for us.
Doesn’t it feel amazing? When you develop an understanding with bae and you find a way to deal with difficult situations in a more mature manner, your relationship feels stronger. A recent study threw light on emotional reactivity and emotional cut off and how it impacts our relationships.
What is emotional reactivity? “When we feel stressed, angry, or hurt, we tend to react impulsively. We are in a state of fight-or-flight and tend to react emotionally, that is, to overreact. That overreaction is emotional reactivity. In that moment, our perceptions of the situation are altered. The emotional charge prevents us from seeing the situation for what it is. Instead, we react. At this point, there is no listening going on anymore. Our emotions and defenses are driving our behaviors,” describes Manhattan Mental Health Counselling.
Emotional cut-off is when we disconnect from a particularly difficult or stressful situation. According to a study, men are more susceptible to cut-off while women are more prone to react impulsively. “For women who are emotionally reactive, this might look like being hypersensitive or over-reacting to a difficult situation and this was associated with decreased relationship satisfaction for her. For men who are emotionally cutoff, this might look like using the silent treatment, becoming defensive, or avoiding emotional connection when times get hard. This was associated with decreased relationship and sexual satisfaction for him as well as a decrease in relationship satisfaction for his partner,” study author Amber Price explained.
“Though certainly not all men engage in emotional cutoff and not all women are emotionally reactive, it is important to work towards greater emotional regulation as a way to help improve relationships,” Price adds.
Emotional regulation is the key here, the study proves. It means that first, you need to be aware of your emotional habits. How do you react? Do you become impulsive or distant? Do you fight or take the flight? Once you’ve established your pattern, you must find a balance. Emotional regulation in relationships leads to better relationship and sexual satisfaction, the study infers.
“Differentiation of self, an ability to balance autonomy and connection in a relationship, is a particular research interest of mine because of the many positive outcomes that both individuals and couples can achieve by working to develop this. It’s associated with increased sexual desire and stronger relationships, a deeper capacity for intimacy, better emotion regulation, improved health, reduced anxiety, and a number of other positive outcomes,” explained Price.
How do we regulate our emotions? “Emotional regulation often involves diffusing heated situations by not immediately acting, practicing active listening techniques, and temporarily removing ourselves from certain situations. We can learn strategies to bring down the intensity of the situation and perhaps later re-approach it with composure,” advises Manhattan Mental Health Counselling.
If you are someone who emotionally cuts-off, it’s important to control that habit. It may not be easy, but be up for a difficult conversation instead of abandoning your partner. If you need time to cool-off, let them know instead of just walking off or avoiding their calls. It’s okay to take time off but not by leaving your partner clueless. If your partner does it, let them know it’s not okay and they must at least tell you they need time and that eventually, you guys will have to deal with the situation. It’s often the way we react to a fight and not the fight itself that messes up the relationship.