Newlyweds who forgive their partner's bad
behaviour are more likely to face additional
bad behavior next day, says a study
Why it's not good to forgive partner for all offences
Everyone may advice you to forgive your partner's bad behaviour, but in some cases, it may be better to hold a grudge against your transgressing spouse, a new study has suggested.
Newlyweds who forgave their partner's bad behaviour were more likely to face additional bad behaviour the next day compared with those who stayed mad, a study of newlyweds the University of Tennessee. Hearing "it's okay, honey," may be just the fuel the transgressing spouse needs for more lapses of judgement, study author James McNulty said, adding the benefits of forgiveness may need to be weighed against the risks.
"You may feel better if you forgive me," McNulty told Live Science. "But the question is, what happens down the road?" So it's likely that the unforgiven spouses behaved better in an attempt to get out of the dog house, he said.
For his research McNulty asked 135 newlywed couples to fill out individual relationship diaries every day for a week. The diaries included a questionnaire about whether the person's spouse had done something to upset them, and whether they'd forgiven their spouse for the transgression.
Overall, spouses who forgave their partners were almost twice as likely to report that their partner misbehaved the next day as those who held a grudge, McNulty found. However, in a second study that has not yet published, McNulty followed couples for four years and the results showed a similar pattern. However, McNulty said the fmdings don't suggest that forgiveness is always bad, nor is it a given that forgiving someone will turn you into a doormat.