Psychological Self-Help

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have an unhappy marriage, (2) married at an early age, (3) married
impulsively, (4) have a low income or financial problems, and (5) one
or both lovers have psychological problems. 
There are no real surprises here, but also nothing you can really
depend on. In fact, some researchers question whether any particular
dating or premarital experience helps us make wise choices for a mate
(Whyte, 1990). Similar social-economic, religious, ethnic and racial
backgrounds of couples are somewhat beneficial, but they don't in
general predict marital satisfaction very well, certainly not in individual
cases. Family of origin relationships are also only modestly related to
marital success, e.g. good relations with mom and dad are slightly
correlated with better marriages (Wamboldt & Reiss, 1989). Women
with warm, caring fathers dated more trusting men; women with cold,
distant fathers dated less trusting men. Men with cold or inconsistent
mothers dated more anxious women (and those relationships had
problems). There is some evidence that we seek partners similar to
our parent of the opposite sex (even if that isn't a wise choice). This
might be expected since we first learn about love relationships from
our parents. 
Many studies have found a moderate negative correlation between
marital happiness (or intimacy and trust) and neuroticism, low self-
esteem, impulsivity (expressiveness), shyness, and other personality
problems, i.e. the better the psychological adjustment, the better the
marriage. However, never assume that only your qualities determine
how good your love life will be. You could be very well adjusted
yourself and still be unhappy in love, if your partner is not well
adjusted or has an incompatible attitude or life-style. I don't believe
the common notion that it necessarily "takes two to cause marital
According to Collins and Read (1990), if we are comfortable with
closeness and feel we can depend on others, we tend to date people
with similar characteristics. On the other hand, if we are doubtful that
others will continue to love us, we avoid partners who have difficulty
getting close and fear abandonment (because they confirm our fears).
In general, the best relationships for women are with men who are at
ease with closeness; the poorest relationships for men are with women
who are afraid of being unloved. Why might this be? Other research
confirms that men are more upset by possessiveness and restrictions
on their freedom than women are. Women are more upset by
uncommunicativeness and a lack of closeness than men are. These
problems between men and women may reflect the gender
stereotypes we are taught. 
High satisfaction has been reported by couples who defy the
traditional sex-typing, i.e. masculine, assertive, tough women married
to sensitive, caring, relationship-aware men. Also, in a similar but
rather surprising way, Type A women (anxious, highly motivated,
pressed for time) do better with Type B men (more relaxed, less up
tight). Of course, dividing the housework and child care equally and/or
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