A new study examined why some people are more likely to be extremely committed to a relationship, and why things may fall apart anyway. Just like your therapist said, it might have something to do with do with your mommy issues.
Researchers from St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, analyzed data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (MLSRA), a 30-year study of nearly 200 subjects' development from birth to adulthood, Science Daily reports. Later they conducted lab experiments on 78 adults, ages 20-21, who had participated in the study along with their heterosexual romantic partners. Researchers then compared their results to data from earlier experiments conducted on the subjects at ages two and 16. In the first experiment, two-year-olds were given a difficult task, and researchers recorded whether their mothers helped, laughed or ignored the child. At 16, the subjects discussed how they handled a fight with their best friend.
The study found that the subjects whose mothers were supportive and involved during the toddler experiment grew up to be a "strong link," or the person with a bigger stake in adult relationships. If the opposite was true, they usually grew up to be less committed in relationships.
However, a "weak link" isn't doomed to fail in a relationship. The study found the more important factor for romantic success is matching levels of commitment. A pair of "strong links" are more likely to be kind to each other and work through rough patches. But a pair of "weak links" may stay together too. Even if they don't care as much about working things out, their expectations are both low, so there's less fighting.
The trouble comes with a weak and and a strong link. The one who's less committed winds up having power over the partner who desperately wants things to work, and this leads to more fighting. So being aloof and not caring about your relationship may actually be the key to romantic success — but only if you find someone who's as apathetic about your relationship as you are.
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