In our society, it is typically considered to be favorable for us to describe our partners in high esteem. So, for the most part, we tend to build our partners up to others, even if that isn’t what we really feel, however, there is a way to tell what the truth is.
According to Psychology Today, both gay and heterosexual couples tend to describe their partners more favorably than their partners describe themselves. Due to this fact, researchers have had to learn how to read between the lines to understand how couples actually feel toward one another.
To do this, researchers have grown to understand the difference between what we say about our partner automatically, versus our implicit attitude towards our partner. Implicit attitudes are our ‘spontaneous affective reactions’ or gut reactions. Typically, these happen automatically.
The way researchers read these reactions is by having couples complete a computerized reaction-time task to see how quickly they could discern the couple’s feelings for one another. While most couples have an automatic reaction that tends tom include positive verbal statements. Oddly enough, these positive verbal statements have little to do with implicit attitudes.
Instead, nonverbal behaviors, like eye contact, smiles, and tone of voice were used. Not only are these implicit attitudes used to understand how a couple currently feels about each other, but they can also determine how satisfied both parties will be over four years.
Additionally, researchers have used this metric to find out whether there are healthy and secure attachment styles in relationships. On top of that, the more positive our implicit attitude is toward our partner, the more likely we are to be detrimentally impacted by a breakup.
So, if you are trying to discern how two people feel about each other, or even how your partner feels about you-look at their behaviors, tone of voice, and how they interact with you, not in terms of the language they use, but instead, in their body language and tone.