By using a future-oriented perspective
Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2016
Type of paper: Primary Empirical Study
Sample size: 520
Open Access: No
We examined how adopting a future (vs. present)-oriented perspective when reflecting on a relationship conflict impacts the process of reasoning and relationship well-being. Across two studies, participants instructed to think about how they would feel in the future (vs. present) expressed more adaptive reasoning over a relationship conflict—low partner blame, greater insight, and greater forgiveness, which was then associated with greater relationship well-being—for example, more positive versus negative emotions about the relationship and expectations that the relationship will grow. These findings were driven by a decrease in person-centered language when reflecting on the conflict. Implications for understanding how temporal distance and reasoning impact relationship conflict management are discussed.