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Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages
February 10, 2006
3:40 pm
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"Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages"

Extract of the article reads:

--------------------------------

Study participants were asked whether they agreed with statements that define altruism, such as, "I'd rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," and "I'm willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers."

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_____kathyG and others____: Dont the two above lines show co-dependent attitude?

Here's the full article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/.....rmarriages

Thu Feb 9, 12:00 PM ET

Altruism may breed better marriages, a new study suggests. Or, the data might mean that good marriages make people more altruistic.

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Whatever, altruism and happiness seem to go together in the realm of love.

"Altruistic love was associated with greater happiness in general and especially with more marital happiness," concludes Tom Smith of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago in a report released today.

Study participants were asked whether they agreed with statements that define altruism, such as, "I'd rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," and "I'm willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers."

Those who agreed with the statements tended to also report happiness with their spouses.

Among the more altruistic, 67 percent rated their own marriage as "very happy." Among those who were profiled as the least altruistic, only 50 percent said they were very happy in marriage.

And here's one for those of you who're still waiting for your partner to commit: Forty percent of the married people ranked near the top for altruistic responses, while only 20 percent of those who had never married did so. The divorced and separated came in at around 25 percent.

The study asked dozens of questions to gauge both altruistic intentions and behaviors. How often do you give blood? Do you return money when a cashier makes a mistake in your favor?

Rising altruism

In a separate finding, Smith looked at a similar study from 2002 and found that altruistic feelings are on the rise. The number of people having "tender, concerned feelings toward the less fortunate" rose 5 percent, to 75 percent.

Smith speculated why:

"People have been suffering more negative life events than in the past and as such there is greater need for caring and assistance," he said. "Likewise, there is greater disparity between the rich and the poor with the lot of the former, but not of the latter, improving in recent years."

It's not known if altruism begets a good marriage or vice versa.

But Smith said connection between romantic love and altruistic behavior probably comes from an appreciation of love developed in a healthy marriage and reflects the connection between marriage and love in general, which is part of the teachings of many religions.

The study found that people who pray every day performed, on average, 77 acts of altruism a year vs. 60 for those who never pray.

Men vs. women

Altruistic love scores were higher for women who are homemakers than women who work outside the home. Men scored higher than women. "This may be because there is an element of heroic stoicism and being a protector," Smith writes in the report.

Altruism runs higher among older people and those with college educations.

Smith also analyzed empathy, described as feeling protective of others or concerned for the less fortunate. Some of the findings:

Women have a greater feeling of empathy than men.
Children from two-parent homes are more empathetic.
Girls raised by a single father are the least likely to develop empathy.
Financial status bears little on altruism or empathy.
People who vote are more empathetic and altruistic.
Empathy is higher among those who fear crime.
Empathy is higher among those who support increased spending on social programs.
The research was based on data from in-home surveys conducted every two years with support from the National Science Foundation. Smith used data from the 2004 survey, of 1,329 adults, and compared it to the 2002 results.

February 10, 2006
3:56 pm
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Anonymous
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guest,

dunno - methinks you are trying to find proof that being codependent is okay.....

anyway, yes, sacrificing one's own goals for someone else you love IS codependent on some level....taking on someone's pain so they don't have to suffer is also codependent on some level.

I think that the key you are missing is BALANCE.

When you are in a healthy relationship - you are willing to take on someone else's pain - BUT - they are also willing to take on yours....and a healthy person would not LET you sacrifice your goals for them - or ask you to.

Yes, in a relationship, it DOES happen - it's a compromise sometimes.

But I think the article is more related to social altruism - meaning people are becoming less selfish. I think that americans can be so selfish - and yet, we can also be the most giving people on the planet.....and I think the study is just finding that people are less selfish than they were in previous years....and many people are concerned about the less fortunate than in previous years.

but I wonder - is this because people want to feel like a "hero" - saving the less fortunate??? - again, that would be codependent - looking for validation for doing a good deed for the other person.

anyway, don't look for validation that being codependent is good - it's out there - we are even taught to be as children....doesn't make it right tho....society taught women to be codependent and men to be heroes...again, doesn't make it right....but means that you will find lots of reasons to believe it's right or okay.

February 12, 2006
11:15 pm
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alicat and guest,

I think that what makes a relationship co-dependent is when only one person is sacrificing for the other, and the second person is not.

When both are sacrificing for the other, the relationship is healthy and wonderful.

Seeker

February 13, 2006
10:51 am
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alicat, me definitely not saying that being coda is Ok. Its definitely not ok. I saw from the list of Cod symptoms of this site:

controlling behavior,
distrust,
perfectionism,
avoidance of feelings,
intimacy problems,
caretaking behavior,
hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger),
physical illness related to stress

Only "caretaking behavior" could come under altruisim. I see the point of the article now. If we can help others WITHOUT losing ourselves- thats what we need. Helping MORE without losing yourself, is better than helping LESS while losing yourself. Makes sense now. Losing yourself means, getting out of touch with your own needs.

I'm feeling crappy here right now. How about starting a thread where we all express exactly why we're feeling crappy? What should be the title of the thread? I dont want to put it in the other main section where there's so many people, so I dont want to bug them all. I like this nice quite corner. What should i do?

February 13, 2006
11:14 am
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Do what you need to do - it's quite simple...post what you need to post, where you need to post it.

February 13, 2006
11:20 am
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I guess I'll forum the forum rules and post it in the main section even thoughh I dont want all the attention! ok.. i might start it soon.

February 13, 2006
11:32 am
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you could title it "need to vent? vent away....."....and go from there.

we all need to vent - that's what's great about this forum....as long as you are being honest and true to your own feelings, there is no rules about the right way to do it.

February 13, 2006
11:34 am
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i should have used "vent" oh well. is "crappy" bad?

February 16, 2006
2:54 pm
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When two people put each other first, they both win, right?

February 16, 2006
3:23 pm
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ginger - in a word, no

there isn't a person in the world who can totally meet our needs - that is except for ourselves.

when we expect someone else to take care of our needs - and we take care of theirs - we fall short of total fufillment of our needs.

When we put ourselves first, we can't be let down....and whatever the other person DOES do for us, is just a bonus.

I had an analogy that I think might be useful.

Think of ourselves as full glasses of water - when we are full - we are "fuFILLED" - we are full - we are "enough". And two full glasses of water equals a healthy relationship.

Now - think of unhealthy people as half full glasses. And in your idea - you each try to "fill" eachother's glass. But in all reality - two halves only make one whole - so neither glass will ever be completely full without draining the other glass. And if we spend so much time "pouring" ourselves into the other person - our glass will never be full - which means we will be shortchanged - unfuFILLED - and never "full" ourselves. And if the other person tries to fill our glass - same thing happens.

I am not sure about you - but I have yet to meet a person who can totally fill my needs for me - or someone I can fill their needs for. We all have unconcious needs - and concious needs - how can anyone ever know what all of them are and meet them?

On the other hand - I think all relationships should have a healthy dose of give and take - but I don't think that two partners should put the other partners needs ahead of their own....it's not a win-win situation - though it would seem like it.

To illustrate - I'll use my own BF and I as a scenario. I need him to get a second job so he can fufill his end of the household bills. He needs me to stop nagging about getting the job.

So, he gets the job, I stop nagging. Everybody wins, no? NO - the second job is physically taxing on him - wears him out...makes him cranky.....AND takes time away from the relationship.

now both of us are unhappy - he's tired and we don't have enough time together.

but the bills are paid and I am not nagging.

both needs got met - but it wasn't a win-win.

there are obvious flaws in this example, but I think you get the picture.

Bottom line is you have to look out for yourself first - no matter what - cuz if you don't take care of you - there is no guarantee someone else can or will.

February 16, 2006
3:39 pm
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guest,

Like I said, you do come up with interesting things to talk about.

I don't believe in either partner scraficing for the other. I don't think scarficing one's needs as love. If I really love someone I don't want him to sacrifice anything for me. I want him to have for himself what he needs and wants for himself.

If the needs and wants of two people clash then I don't think its a good match.

I think it works best when two people are in sink with their goals and dreams.

I do think its codependent to suffer instead of having my partner suffer. In a trully healthy relationship I don't think either person should have to suffer. I think things can be worked out so no one is suffering.

I don't believe in suffering and I don't believe in sacrificing as healthy attributes in a relationship.

But I do believe in making choices together that leave both partners feeling satisfied.

I have found that often what is more important than which restuarant to eat at for example is the willingness to really hear each other and really care about what the other is trying to say and what the other needs. For me that's where true relationship happiness comes from, the joy of mutal caring and deep, loving intimacy.

I don't know how happy these people in that survey really are. I don't know how they measured happiness. In fact, there's a lot about those surverys I don't know.

But I do know what makes for a healthy and happy relationship for me and codependence is not a part of it.

February 17, 2006
7:54 pm
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Alicat, I think you misunderstood my post. It was rather short though, and subject to interpretation, so perhaps I should have been clearer.

I'm not talking about having someone else meet your basic needs. If you are a whole person on your own, and you meet another whole person, and you put your relationship with that person first and they do the same, how could it not be a win-win?

"When two people put each other first, they both win, right?"

Two whole and healthy people. Not two bleeding train wrecks waiting for someone else to come along and bandage them up.

I can tell you with utmost certainty that a marriage will absolutely NOT work when one partner is making the marriage their number one priority in life and the other is putting it on the back burner.

February 17, 2006
8:01 pm
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ginger -

I still tend to think that putting someone else besides yourself first is not a smart idea. I could be wrong.

But if you put someone else first - then your needs may not be fully met - and you may lose your "healthy" status....if that makes any sense.

I seem to believe that nobody but you knows what you truly need - and tho your partner may try hard to meet your needs - and put your needs first - I still tend to believe that due to human communication, human error and other variables - that nobody else can really truly get it right enough to make us truly happy.....again, not sure if that makes sense.

If you take care of your own needs first - you will maintain a healthy mental attitude and be able to sustain a healthy relationship. If you put too much energy into putting someone else's needs first - yours MAY get neglected (assuming they aren't perfect and tho they put your needs first, may not always get it right).

Not sure if I am making sense, but not sure how else to put it.

February 21, 2006
1:46 pm
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A healthy person understands their own needs and take the appropriate steps to meet them. When someone approaches a relationship from that healthy place, then he or she is in a good position to put the marriage first. Part of taking care of the marriage is in taking care of yourself, isn't it?

February 21, 2006
2:19 pm
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ginger-i wont forget that analogy for awhile. two bleeding train wrecks......

February 21, 2006
10:22 pm
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ginger...I think only 2 healthy people can put each other first. so YES i agree with you!!!!

February 22, 2006
2:34 pm
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I had this vision of two cartoon trains with slings and casts sort of lying across the tracks crying and saying "help me, please!" or maybe they are both trying to push each other unsuccessfully back onto the track.

I've been in so many relationships where the train wrecks were engaging in all possible combinations of pushing, pulling, and dumping oil and gasoline all over the place.

I guess the altruistic theme strikes such a chord with me lately because I find that I'm taking time to care for myself and my own needs, taking space when I need it, tending to my health and such, staying away from negative influences in my life... and that leaves me with lots of love to give someone without expecting anything in return. And I find that giving without that expectation of getting feels really good. It's all the more amazing when I come in contact with people who are also in a similar place, where they do nice stuff for me because they feel like they are already quite full themselves, but still enjoy giving and keep giving to others.

I don't feel like as much of a train wreck as I did. And when I do fall off the tracks, I feel much more comfortable accepting that push from the other train in my life to get me back on track. And when the other train falls off the track, I've got more than enough fuel to give him a push. It's a very safe and secure feeling.

Chug chug chug chug choooo choooooooo!

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