May 15, 2013 10:40 AM by Ryan Haarer

Study: Good deeds go unnoticed by your significant other

TUCSON- Gentlemen, don't take this as a clue to never take the trash out again, but, you may find that your good deeds go unnoticed on days your significant other is stressed out.

John and Retina Bauschatz have been married for six years.

John says, "Balancing various parts of your life is one of the more difficult things."

Between work and kids they've learned to make sacrifices for each other. Like when Retina does Johns yard work, or John picks up the kids.

"On days when people did more sacrifices for their partner they reported feeling more committed to their partner. But that boost only held on days when they were doing that sacrifices and they weren't particularly stressed out," said Casey Totenhagen, a UA research scientist.

Casey studied 164 couples and asked them to report what sacrifices they made for their partner everyday for a week. The couples also reported what hassles or stressors they encountered that day, and finally, given those two factors had to rate how satisfied they were in their relationship.

Totenhagen says, "We didn't find any partner effects. So if my partner was doing a lot of sacrifices for me, my partner was likely to feel more committed depending on the context of their day, but I didn't feel more satisfied more close or more committed. So we are wondering if it has something to do with awareness."

While John and Retina were not part of the study, they say Casey's findings hit the nail on the head. When Retina does Johns yard work and he's having a bad day, he really doesn't feel the effect like Retina does.

"If I go out of my way and I don't receive that kind of appreciation, then I feel less committed to the relationship or feel he's less committed to the relationship," claims Retina.

The study shows that stress affects both people in the relationship, implying couples would be better off working together through the hassles.

This study also supports other research that shows we have trouble compartmentalizing. Meaning work, home and relationship troubles have a tendency to spillover into each other.


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