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The secret to
successful romantic relationships starts young

The secret to
successful romantic relationships starts young

Childhood attachment issues and past relationships shape the nature of our adult romantic relationships, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In a study that spanned more than a quarter century, 78 individuals were analyzed at four pivotal points in their lives: infancy, early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. When the participants were 12 months old, caregivers reported on the degree of their distress, relief, and recovery when they left the baby alone in a room and then returned. When the participants were 6 to 8 years old, their teachers were asked to rate how well the children interacted with their peers. At 16 years old, participants were asked to describe their close friendships. And at the most recent reporting, participants' romantic partners told of their experiences and their partner's expressions of emotion during their relationship. Interactions of the couples were also observed by researchers to evaluate how they expressed emotion and their interpersonal dynamics.

Results showed that participants who were secure and attached as infants had a higher social competence as children. Children who were socially competent with their peers were more secure and closer to their friends at age 16. Participants who as teenagers were closer to friends were also more expressive and emotionally attached to their romantic partners in early adulthood.

It's just one piece of the emotional puzzle, said W. Andrew Collins, lead author and University of Minnesota psychology professor, in a statement. "One encouraging finding, however, is that the study does not suggest that an individual's past unalterably determines the future course of his/her relationships." (The Advocate)

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