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The Role of Mindset in Romantic Relationships

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People have different expectations when they get into romantic relationships and friendships. The expectations that people have are dependent on their mindsets. Some people find it difficult to handle rejection in their lives because their mindsets are fixed on revenge. Other people get into relationships with the intention of giving their all for the relationships to work out. Successful relationships are attributed to forgiveness and understanding. However, some people focus on revenging when their friends or lovers have hurt them. Relationships are not always smooth. Therefore, both parties must have goodwill and commitment to the relationship to be successful. Partners with a growth mindset can handle conflicts easily within them, but those with a fixed mindset find it difficult to handle the cracks in their relationship. In relationships, people can develop a growth mindset by setting realistic expectations, learning to forgive, acting proactively, communicating properly, and avoiding blames.

Both partners must work hard for a relationship to succeed. Instead of focusing on the perpetual compatibility of one’s partner, a person should work hard to ensure that the relationship works out. In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck argues that “The growth mindset says all of these things can be developed. All—you, your partner, and the relationship—are capable of growth and change” (188). A person with a fixed mindset wants a perfect and instant relationship. Therefore, for one to overcome the fixed mentality in a relationship, he or she should believe that it is possible to change and grow a relationship. The belief in the potential of changing a relationship can motivate a person in relationship to focus on nurturing a relationship without giving up. Positive evaluations foster happiness in a relationship. When partners focus on the positive attributes that each one of them brings in relationships, their satisfaction increases. In “How do I See You Relative to Myself?” Morry, Tara, and Mie explain that “more positive evaluations of relationship partner’s behaviors relative to strangers are related to higher relationship closeness and quality” (371). Positive evaluations foster closeness among the partners. Comparatively, negative evaluations increase the distance between the partners. Partners that evaluate each other positively are more satisfied than those that evaluate each other from a negative perspective. Accordingly, one can uphold a growth mindset in a relationship by focusing on the positive perceptions of the other partner. Positive evaluation reduces the doubts that the partners have concerning the likelihood of their relationship succeeding. Furthermore, positive evaluations make the partners in the relationships to feel that they are understood. The other partner’s negative traits should not be a cause of failure of relationships. The positive aspects should be used to enhance the negative aspects.

Notably, a proactive personality can encourage a growth mindset in a relationship. Relationships can succeed when the partners learn to solve their challenges in a proactive manner. In “Self-Oriented Forgiveness and Other-Oriented Forgiveness: Shaping High-Quality Exchange Relationships.” Thompson and Travis explain that” Those with a proactive personality will be intrinsically capable of enacting calculating maneuvers aimed at resetting the relational context in the wake of a transgression” (741). This means that a proactive personality entails looking for opportunities that will change relationships for the better. A proactive personality believes in the potential of changing a relationship for better. Moreover, a proactive personality avoids actions that may be detrimental to a relationship. Therefore, it is important to minimize negative actions in relationships by applying proactive techniques.

Besides, proper communication is instrumental in the success of a relationship. Partners in a relationship would make the effort of communicating accurately and effectively with each other. According to Dweck “It takes work to communicate accurately, and it takes work to expose and resolve conflicting hopes and beliefs” (192). A great relationship is not free of conflicts. With proper communication, the partners in a relationship can fix their conflicts. Communication is significant for the partners in a relationship because it contributes to the working of the relationships. Moreover, proper communication aids in finding solutions to the problems that the partiers in a relationship could be experiencing. Great relationships occur as result of relentless efforts. A growth mindset fosters self-disclosure in a relationship. Partners in relationships can uphold self-disclosure by sharing with their partner’s information about the things that hurt them in the relationships. In “Self-Disclosure in Romantic Relationships and Friendships among American and Japanese College Students” Kito Mie cites a study conducted by Critelli and Dupre (1978) whereby “64 dating couples and found significant correlations between self-disclosure and loving” (128).This study is significant because it demonstrates that self-disclosure increases the love in a relationship. Self-disclosure is an element of good communication in a relationship. A person in a relationship should not assume that the other party in the relationship understands what hurts him or her. The assumptions are harmful to a relationship because they encourage the setting of unrealistic standards for the other party in a relationship. Self-disclosure minimizes misunderstandings in relationships. Self –disclosure increases the partner’s understanding of each other’s needs. People should not use self-disclosure as a way of manipulating the other parties in relationships. Self-disclosure promotes efficient communication in relationships.

Moreover, assigning blame is detrimental to the survival of relationships. People should not assign blame when they encounter difficulties in their relationships. In relationships, fixed mindsets believe that problems are indicators of their partners’ flaws. According to Dweck, “When people with a fixed mindset talk about their conflicts, they assign blame. Sometimes they blame themselves, but often they blame their partner” (193).It is crucial for people to recognize that the assigning of blame does not help in solving problems; it compounds the problem. Conflicts are the setbacks that should help partners understand each other. Therefore, it is crucial to use conflicts ways to improve the relationships. Positive emotions contribute to the development of growth mindset in relationships. Positive emotions bring happiness between the partners in relationships. Positive emotions make it easy to solve conflicts among the partners in a relationship. In “Aristotle, Aquinas, and Seligman on Happiness,” Kaczor Christopher explains that “Positive emotions are important for happiness, but a person’s happiness is augmented if they not only are experiencing positive emotions but are also engaged in meaningful work and achievement” (196). Therefore, instead of assigning blame, Partners in a relationship should use positive emotions to deal with their problems. Positive emotions should be based on objective reality. A relationship can flourish as result of the positive emotion. Moreover, the positive emotions motivate both partners to be fully engaged in the relationships. Moreover, partners with positive emotions get a good feeling about the relationship, and they realize that they must work hard for the relationship to remain strong. Accordingly, partners should avoid negative emotions because the emotions destroy the happiness in a relationship by distorting positive thinking.

Additionally, forgiveness is a manifestation of love in a relationship. People in relationship should learn to forgive each other because it improves the quality of a relationship. In “Manifestation of Forgiveness, Subjective Wellbeing and Quality of Life.” Gull and Shabbir explain that Forgiveness is mental and spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution” (18). Forgivingness restores peace and happiness a relationship. A Growth mindset encourages a person to forgive his or her lover; however, fixed mindset creates feelings of revenge. A growth mindset reduces the feelings of resentment, and it demonstrates that the parties have goodwill towards the relationships. The person that makes a mistake in a relationship should acknowledge his or her mistake before he or she is forgiven. Therefore, people should learn to substitute forgiveness for revenge for their relationships to work.

In conclusion, people should get into relationships with a growth mindset because relationships are not smooth always. No person is perfect thus people can make mistakes with their relationships. A person with a growth mindset is interested in making a relationship work whereas a person with a fixed mindset is interested in a perfect relationship. Partners in a relationship should evaluate each other positively. The positive evaluations reduce negative emotions in relationships. Provocativeness is crucial in relationships because it aids in handling problems before they get out of hand. A proactive person does not shift blame to another party in relationships. A proactive personality mitigates the negative effects of a conflict before they destroy a relationship. Partners should learn to communicate optimally with each other. Proper communication makes it easy for partners in relationships to find solutions to the challenges that they could be facing. A person that is concerned about the growth of relationships should not assign blame to the other partner when things seem not to be working as expected. It is important for partners to understand that each person has flaws and the flaws are not indicators of a failed relationship. The flaws should not be used as an excuse to break up as relationships; partners should learn to complement and appreciate each other. More important, partners should have a forgiving heart for a relationship to thrive.

Works Cited

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House Incorporated, 2006.

Gull, Marium, and Shabbir A. Rana Ph.D. “Manifestation of Forgiveness, Subjective Wellbeing and Quality of Life.” Journal of Behavioral Sciences 23.2 (2013): 17-36. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2017.

Kaczor, Christopher. “Aristotle, Aquinas, and Seligman on Happiness.” Journal of Psychology and Christianity 34.3 (2015): 196-204. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2017.

Kito, Mie. “Self-Disclosure in Romantic Relationships and Friendships among American and Japanese College Students.” The Journal of social psychology145.2 (2005): 127-40. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2017.

Morry, Marian M., Tara Reich, and Mie Kito. “How do I See You Relative to Myself? Relationship Quality as a Predictor of Self- and Partner-Enhancement within Cross-Sex Friendships, Dating Relationships, and Marriages.” The Journal of social psychology 150.4 (2010): 369-92. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2017.

Thompson, Bryant, and Travis J. Simkins. “Self-Oriented Forgiveness and Other-Oriented Forgiveness: Shaping High-Quality Exchange Relationships.” Journal of Management and Organization 23.5 (2017): 741-65. ProQuest. Web. 10 Dec. 2017.

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