Can Superstorm Sandy Help Your Love Life?


Sometimes the most stressful events can illuminate the best aspects of our romantic relationships. These past few days have been filled with uncertainty as people along the east coast braced for Hurricane Sandy and now wait for their normal lives to resume as millions are without electricity and running water. Although one must be careful to not downplay the stress of negative life events, research tells us that stressful life events often create opportunities for personal growth, including benefits in our closest relationships.

The reasons why people experience growth following stressful life events remain uncertain, but one thought is that stressful events disrupt the status quo. For example, what happens when people can’t fret about work, occupy their attention with their laptops or smart phones, and turn on their televisions for entertainment? Erich Fromm, a prominent psychologist and philosopher wrote that we are often left with figuring out how to simply “be.” Many people find this freedom without distraction to be entirely unsettling.

Yet, after people push through the initial withdrawal from their full array of technological distractions, one can see friends trying to conserve their precious battery lives, sending out occasional tweets or status updates about newfound goodness in their relationships. For people accustomed to fast and stressful lifestyles, the emotion-related words they use to describe the disruption to their normal lives are telling.

Some couples are delighted to be playing board games, others are content to simply catch up about the most important topics on each other’s minds, and some felt grateful for the security of having someone to hold as during a time of uncertainty. One hopes that once the stress and disruption abates that we can remember what we’ve found.

More on Love and Relationships:

How to Talk to Your Partner

Keep Stress Out of Your Relationship

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Love Life

Ty Tashiro is the author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, an entertaining look at why modern dating is so challenging, why people can easily make bad partner choices, and how science can help us make smart decisions in the search for enduring love. It's available on Amazon, Indie Bound and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Ty received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota. His research has appeared in top academic journals and he has been an award-winning professor at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado. Follow him on facebook and twitter.








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