For the study, he instructed participants to think about a recent relationship conflict.
Half of them were asked how they felt about the situation in the present, and the other half were asked to imagine how they would feel about the conflict in the future.
"How will I feel in one year about this current conflict in my relationship?"
It turns out that those who asked the question about the future reasoned differently. They focused more on their feelings and logical strategies to resolving the conflict.
This group blamed their partner less and forgave more readily, showing greater insight into the reason the conflict happened.
As a result, they perceived their relationship more positively.
Mr Huynh said:
When romantic partners argue over things like finances, jealousy, or other interpersonal issues, they tend to employ their current feelings as fuel for a heated argument.
By envisioning their relationship in the future, people can shift the focus away from their current feelings and mitigate conflicts.
Our study demonstrates that adopting a future - oriented perspective in the context of a relationship conflict - reflecting on how one might feel a year from now - may be a valuable coping tool for one’s psychological happiness and relationship well - being.