- Nathan McBride / Unsplash
- Men and women both agree communication is vital for reconciliation after an argument.
- However, they also have different ideas about some other ways to make things up to your partner.
- While women like apologies and an emotional reaction, men prefer sex.
One inevitability in every relationship is that you will argue. Even the most perfect couple will disagree sometimes.
One study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, and highlighted by BPS Digest, has shown that men and women have different ideas about how apologies should be made after a falling out.
The researchers recruited 164 young adults and asked them what they considered the best way for their partner to make up with them after a row.
They were given 21 distinct actions, including receiving a gift, being cooked a meal, and sex.
Both men and women though the best way of reconciliation after an argument was to talk about it. An apology, a compromise, and spending time together also scored highly.
But there were a few things men and women had different opinions on.
For example, men thought their partner doing something nice for them, such as a household chore, giving a compliment, or offering sex was an effective way of making up. For women, they preferred an apology, or even for their other half to shed some tears.
“Women may rate spending time together more highly because this behaviour signals a partner’s willingness to invest effort and limited resources into their romantic pair-bond,” said Joel Wade, psychology professor at Bucknell University, and lead author of the study.
“Women may find the act of their male partner apologising to be an effective reconciliation tactic because it is viewed as an altruistic act… A man’s apology may redirect the cost of romantic conflict to himself rather than to his partner and thereby demonstrate his ability to provide emotional support and incur personal costs for his partner.”
In general, the researchers said in the study that the differences support previous research about mating strategies – that men tend to seek out opportunities for sex while women want emotional commitment.
Of course it is a generalisation, and not all the subjects had these ideas. Essentially, they agreed communication was key for resolving a disagreement.
Even so, the researchers believe that the study helps elaborate on how men and women think they reconciliations should happen, which provides valuable insights into relationship dynamics.