When it’s time to pick a restaurant for dinner or a destination for your next vacation, you tend to make a spur-of-the-moment decision and see how it goes. To you, that’s the fun of it! But to your significant other, that’s what makes it nerve-wracking: He’d much rather take his time reading Travelocity reviews comparing the pros and cons of every single option before (finally) making up his mind.
To each their own, right? Well… not quite.
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According to a new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, spontaneity—and how much you and your partner embrace it—matters in a relationship. In fact, the more dissimilar you are in terms of impulsiveness, the lower your relationship satisfaction may be. But, if you and your partner match up when it comes to living in the moment, it’s likely that you’re happier in your union.
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To come to this finding, researchers collected a series of behavioral and self-reported measures of impulsivity from a slew of couples. Then, they pitted this data against three hypotheses: First, that if only one partner is impulsive, relationship quality will suffer; Second, that if a couple’s impulsiveness matches, their relationship quality will be positively affected; And third, the more dissimilar the partners' impulsiveness is, the worse their relationship quality will be.
"If you and your partner match up when it comes to living in the moment, it’s likely that you’re happier in your union."
Now, you’d assume that two people would be absolutely volatile together if they both had the tendency to make sudden decisions without really thinking them through. During fights, they’d probably throw out insults without caring much about the consequences, or get in separate cars and drive off—to who the eff knows where—in the heat of an argument. But this study shows that, oddly, because both partners have a similar style (act now, think later), they’re more compatible and likely happier than a couple in which one person acts hastily while the other doesn’t.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should peace out on your sweetie if they're very cautious with vacation planning. But it does help explain why that quirk may sometimes annoy you, and you wish he could embrace his inner daredevil. Science can be eye-opening like that.