This paradoxical observation was made by psychologists from the University of Basel (Benjamin Scheibehenne) and (Jutta Mata) together with a professor of psychology (Peter Todd) from the University of Indiana.
Trying to reveal the formula of happy and, most importantly, long-term relationships, the scientists compared the unions of young and elderly spouses. The survey involved 38 couples of newlyweds (married from one to two years) and 20 couples who have already celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. “We deliberately selected so different categories for the survey to see the difference as clearly as possible,” says Jutta Mata. The researchers asked the spouses in detail about the political views, hobbies and gastronomic tastes of their partner.
It turned out that the representations of young people about each other are much more accurate and fuller than the elderly. “The most obvious discrepancies in the answers concerned eating habits and hobbies,” says Jutta Mata. “One man, for example, said that his wife’s favorite dish is lamb stew, although in fact she has been a vegetarian for ten years.” It is interesting that before the survey, all the elderly spouses stated with confidence that they know their halves as themselves.
“We predicted very different results,” commented Peter Todd, a psychology professor. - It was expected that the longer and stronger the union, the more people are aware of each other. But it turned out the opposite. What is the reason we still have to find out. It is only clear that over time, the interest of partners to each other weakens, but this does not adversely affect the relationship. " Indeed, despite the poor awareness of each other, most experienced spouses, unlike young couples, said they were absolutely happy in marriage. While the newlyweds - the mass of claims to each other.
Scientists have suggested: perhaps the explanation is that people who have lived side by side for many years begin to attribute their habits and addictions to a partner, which automatically reduces the need to learn something new about him. In addition, over the years, many people change their tastes, while our ideas about them remain the same.
I think it’s too early to draw serious conclusions: the research is clearly not completed, and it would do well to increase the group of respondents. And even more so, unlike my colleague from, I would not argue that the lack of awareness of partners about each other is the key to a long marriage.
But here I remembered Exupery: “To love is not to look at each other. To love is to look in one direction. ” Maybe this is the most correct explanation for the fact that people whose union with honor has withstood the test of time, sometimes they know each other not as well as loving newbies. And maybe this explanation is already enough?