Moreover, aggression can be damaging even when it's not that physical; many people don't believe that." Arriaga also is looking at what psychological mechanisms cause a person to preserve a negative relationship at the expense of their well-being, and at what point does the victim shift toward wanting to end an aggressive dating relationship.
For example, in this study, the majority of people who were still in their dating relationship reported instances of aggression.
In aggressive relationships, bias occurs not only in forecasting future happiness, but also in misreading how badly one feels now.
Outside of relationship studies, research shows that people tend to overestimate how affected they will be by a major event, whether it is something terrible, such as not getting a promotion, or positive, such as winning the lottery.
Arriaga examined this overestimating bias to dating.
Individuals (n = 171) who reported aggression by their current partner completed a longitudinal study.
At the start of the study, participants rated their current happiness and how happy they expected to feel if their relationship were to end.
If up to this point you’ve only dated people in traditional 9 to 5 jobs, you may be at a loss when it comes to the mindset and habits of your new love.
Perhaps you wonder if they even have mental problems!
Participants reported at least one act of verbal, psychological or physical aggression by their partner.
Examples of abuse included being shoved or controlled, sworn at or humiliated.
The data revealed a partner aggression-unhappiness link and evidence of misforecasting future happiness: Committed individuals overestimated their unhappiness after a breakup because they expected worse things from a breakup than actually materialized, and people who experienced higher partner aggression overestimated their unhappiness because they became more happy without the partner than they had expected.