How to spot when your partner is hiding their true feelings, according to a new study

A new study has found that people tend to view their partners through rose-tinted glasses

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 02 March 2017 13:45 GMT
Because no one's as happy as this stock couple all the time
Because no one's as happy as this stock couple all the time (Getty Images)

We all know that just because someone says they’re fine, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are.

But how often do you and your partner actually spot when one of you is hiding your emotions? According to a new study, it’s probably not as frequently as you think.

New research suggests that people miss cues that their partner may be suppressing negative feelings because we see our other-halves in a more positive light.

What’s more, the extent of this depends on how happy you are in your relationship.

“Happier couples see their partners in a more positive light than do less happy couples,” said Lameese Eldesouky, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University.

“They tend to underestimate how often a partner is suppressing emotions and to overestimate a partner's ability to see the bright side of an issue that might otherwise spark negative emotions.”

The study by psychologists at Washington University in St Louis has revealed that even for couples who’ve been together for years, many people are clueless when it comes to picking up on the ploys their partners use to avoid confronting emotional problems.

Researchers studied 120 heterosexual couples aged between 18 and 25 who’d been in exclusive relationships for six months to four years.

Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires as part of a wider study on emotion in close relationships, which looked into how accurately people judged personality traits that reflect how we manage our emotions.

The study found that there are two ways people mask their emotions:

  • Expressive suppression - “stoically hiding one’s emotions behind a calm and quiet poker face”
  • Cognitive reappraisal - “changing one’s perspective to see the silver lining behind a bad situation.”

So if you think your partner might not always let on when they’re feeling down about something, those are the signs to look out for.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in