By Staff Blogger
When you truly love someone, you will forgive them for just about anything. You will think back to when they hurt you and tell yourself that it wasn’t that bad and that they will never do it again. This may seem like a terrible way to function, but research shows that a little delusion actually helps relationships.
Eli J. Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern, did some studies with some of his students on relationships of college students and how they remembered their partner’s bad history. One of the studies had the students come in every two weeks over a six month period and report anything that their lover did that made them mad or sad.
The leader of the study, Laura B. Luchies of Redeamer University said that some of the complaints she came across were that their lover didn’t have anything planned for Valentine’s Day because they were too busy, they didn’t like that their lover didn’t realize how jealous they would get when she hung out with other guys, and their lover wasn’t as supportive of a big decision as they should have been.
Students ranked, on a scale of one to seven, as to whether they thought these transgressions were betrayal, and how much they forgave them for the transgressions. Later in the study they were shown this report and asked if they felt the same way about the statement now as they did then.
They filled out surveys to measure their trust, commitment, attachment, and satisfaction in their relationships. Those with a high level of trust seemed to be slightly more delusional about the transgressions as time went on. Those who did not trust their partner still remember clearly the way they had felt about previous incidents and did not find them to be any better than they had originally stated.
The kind of delusion that trust brings about in a relationship is okay as long as it does not lead you into a harmful situation.
“One of the ways that trust is so good for relationships is that it makes us partly delusional,” said Eli J. Finkel, professor of psychology at Northwestern.