The Weird Thing That Tests Your Relationship

A new study from University of Pittsburgh and University of Waterloo published in Psychological Science has found that when your body is unstable so are your feelings about your love life. For example, if you’re standing on one foot and someone decides to question you about your relationship, your answers will be just as wobbly as your body. It’s only when we have both feet on the ground that our brain can look at our love life, sigh with relief, and see that things are going well. It’s called embodied cognition.

Embodied cognition is the study of the link between our body and our feelings. Prior studies on the topic have found that when people hold a warm cup of coffee they’re more likely to view strangers in the same light, whereas when holding an iced coffee, people don’t see strangers as being so warm and friendly anymore.

But for this most recent study, the researchers focused on stability. In the first experiment, participants were asked questions about their romantic relationships while sitting at a wobbly desk or a stable desk. Those at the unstable desk perceived their relationship the same way, while those at the stable desks had more faith in their relationship. During the second experiment, the researchers had the two controlled groups stand on either two feet or one during the questions, and found the same result: Stability in the body creates for the perceived notion of stability in a relationship.

This doesn’t mean your love life hangs in the balance every time you stand on one foot or if your dining room table won’t stop wobbling, but it does mean that there is a definite connection between feelings and bodies. Because this is the case, researchers suggest that when it comes to your relationship, you should only examine it when your body is feel sturdy.

Because standing on one foot isn't the only thing that can test a relationship, here are five other things to can, too.

1. Lack Of Sleep

A 2013 study found that when people don’t get enough sleep their emotional bond is at risk. When people have enough sleep they feel appreciated and appreciative, but when either partner is lacking on the shut-eye, both suffer and question how just how grateful (or not) they are for each other.

2. Holding Warm Objects

Similarly to the coffee experiment, researchers scanned the brain activity of participants in a study where they were asked to hold ice packs while reading loving messages and neutral ones from loved ones. What it found was that there was increased brain activity when the participants were asked to hold warm objects while reading the loving messages. When the messages were read while the participants held cold objects there was no overlapping in neurological activity meaning the cold kept them at a neutral state.

3. Being BFF With Your Partner’s Mom

Although it’s going to sound weird (because it kind of is), a 2012 study by the University of Michigan found that when the woman in the relationship is really good friends with her guy’s mom, they have a 20 percent greater chance of breaking up. The thinking is that the excessive closeness will almost give the in-law permission to butt in, so she does, of course, and it ends up being a disaster.

4. A Long Commute

Because having to go to work in the first place isn’t bummer enough, a study out of Sweden found that the longer your commute the more likely you are to see your relationship come to an end. The stress that comes with having to deal with rush hour traffic can increase your chances of breaking up by a whole 40 percent.

5. Your Birth Control

According to a 2012 study, women who meet their partner when they’re on the Pill can lose interest when they get off the pill. It’s when women are off the Pill that they’re more judgmental about men, so kicking the Pill because you want to try to have children can seriously affect your interest in your partner, especially sexually. So much so that you may even say goodbye and head for greener pastures.

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