Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Juliet? Can We Talk? Secret Relationships Go Sour Quickly, According To New Study By Psychologists

Date:
February 14, 2005
Source:
University Of Georgia
Summary:
Secret romantic relationships are hot, right? Movies and television dramas are full of them, and they almost always seem intense, the gateway to a new life filled with promise if not outright ecstasy. If you believe that, two psychologists who are about to publish research on the subject have a word of advice for you on Valentine's Day: Get a life.

Secret romantic relationships are hot, right? Movies and television dramas are full of them, and they almost always seem intense, the gateway to a new life filled with promise if not outright ecstasy.

Related Articles


If you believe that, two psychologists who are about to publish research on the subject have a word of advice for you on Valentine's Day: Get a life.

"We found virtually nothing good in the long-term about secret romantic relationships," said W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia. "In the beginning, the secrecy may increase the allure, but in every study we conducted it was ultimately detrimental to a quality relationship."

The research, which will be published in March in the journal Personal Relationships, was co-authored by Craig Foster of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"Secret relationships seem fun and exciting to many people, but the results of our research do not support that view," said Foster. "Individuals in secret romantic relationships consistently report lower levels of relationship quality. These results are inconsistent with a common belief that secret romances are fun and exciting. When individuals think of secret romances, they probably imagine late-night clandestine meetings where the potential for being caught enhances the romantic experience; however, a realistic portrait of romantic relationships reveals that maintaining secrecy is more frustrating than fun."

Research on secrecy in romantic relationships is surprisingly thin, the authors say, and that "may be related to a belief that romantic secrecy is a blithe topic that does not genuinely affect many individuals." Considering how many relationships are secret and the stress they put on friends and family, not to mention lovers, the lack of information may seem, to many, downright odd.

There are many reasons for romantic secrecy, of course. The authors cite as examples of relationships that may require secrecy ones that are homosexual, interracial or interreligious. Just as often, however, secret workplace romances occur, and though they sometimes fade before causing lasting damage, friends and family are often trapped in a web of divided loyalties and deceit.

The authors based their conclusions on three studies, based on question-and-answer surveys, with undergraduate students from the University of North Carolina. In the first study, romantic secrecy predicted lower levels of initial relationship quality and decreased relationship quality over a two-week period. The second and third studies confirmed that romantic secrecy's allure rapidly degrades during the beginning weeks of such a relationship.

"Most of those in the survey didn't say they got involved in a secret relationship because it looked like fun," said Campbell. "The main reason is that they didn't want friends and family finding out."

If secret relationships can be shown to be unsatisfactory for most people, then why are such relationships the backbone of soap operas, many mainstreams movies and hundreds of books published each year? It may be because it's more about escape than about love, and of course, since Romeo and Juliet (and really long before) the idea of secret lovers has exerted a strong pull on the popular imagination.

"Members of secret relationships likely observe others sharing their romantic relationship information with their friends, while they must continually inhibit the desire to share their own experiences," said Foster. "In the case of severe romantic secrecy, relationship members are required to lie about their activities and their relationship status for weeks, months or years. Members of stigmatized relationships, such as homosexual or interracial relationships, may experience additional frustration as the need for romantic secrecy is enforced by a greater social problem."

Campbell, author of the just-released When You Love a Man Who Loves Himself (Sourcebooks Casablanca) is considered a national expert on narcissism, and the new study, he says, points out there may be some benefits to secrecy at the very earliest stages of a secret romantic relationship. Such benefits, however, are currently unclear at best and may well be the topic of another study on the subject.

Most people in secret relationships end up better off than Romeo and Juliet, of course. Then again, living to regret it might actually be worse – at least for a dramatist – than apparently blissful sacrifice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Georgia. "Juliet? Can We Talk? Secret Relationships Go Sour Quickly, According To New Study By Psychologists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213123013.htm>.
University Of Georgia. (2005, February 14). Juliet? Can We Talk? Secret Relationships Go Sour Quickly, According To New Study By Psychologists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213123013.htm
University Of Georgia. "Juliet? Can We Talk? Secret Relationships Go Sour Quickly, According To New Study By Psychologists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050213123013.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins