Research from the University of Minnesota has found that our ability to move on after an argument with our significant other is influenced by how we were parented as children. The study followed a group of 20 year-old participants from birth. During one study they had them begin a discussion with their romantic partner. The topic had to be about something that they disagreed on and resulted in an argument. Then they were asked to have a second discussion on a subject that they agreed on. This was meant as the "cool-down" period.
Some people were able to quickly get over the disagreement, while others were not’no surprise there. When the researchers looked into each person’s upbringing (specifically between the ages of 1 and 18 months) though they found that those who had a secure attachment to their caregiver’the caregiver taught the child how to cope well with negative emotions’were more likely to be able to bounce back from conflict when they were in a relationship as an adult.
But even if you didn’t have a "Happy Days" childhood growing up, that doesn’t mean you will never be able to have a happy relationship. The researchers say people with less than idyllic childhoods, do best when they marry someone who does have the ability to move on from conflict. And it’s a skill parents can teach their kids from a very young age. “If one person can lead this process of recovering from conflict, it may buffer the other person and the relationship," says Jessica Salvatore, one of the study’s co-authors. "There’s something about the important people later in our lives that changes the consequences of what happened earlier.“