Relationship Advice: Shyness Negatively Affects Marital Quality

May 23, 2010 by

Two studies in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin claims shyness can influence the quality of an ongoing relationship - even one as important as marriage. Good relationship advice might be to consider the impact of your personality on your marriage. Marriage counselors are keenly aware of the extent to which a person's personality determines the shape and quality of his or her social relationships.
One of the studies found that shyness was linked both to more severe marital problems among newlyweds and to overall lower marital quality. Also, shy people reported more problems with trust, jealousy, money, and household management. For some, saving your marriage may depend upon treating one partner’s shyness.
The second study showed that it was prior shyness that was linked to marital difficulties rather than shyness that developed later. Marriage counselors know that in the beginning of a relationship we overlook the traits that will later bother us. Initially we may not even see the other’s shyness, or the shy partner may feel much bolder when under the influence of infatuation chemicals.

Working on shyness may be good relationship advice

The authors of the studies suggest that shyness makes it more difficult for people to enter into social relationships and, because shy people feel more social anxiety, they are less confident in dealing with the inevitable problems that marriage entails. It may also be that shyness causes isolation from other couples, family activities and social engagements.  Marriage counselors offering relationship advice will tell you that all couples need to have activities they enjoy together outside of the home and with others.
"There is hope even though shyness itself might be resistant to change," write the authors. "People can be taught to have more efficacy in how to resolve the specific marital problems they face. As a consequence, any marital difficulties prompted by personality can be prevented by explicit training on dealing with marital problems." Marriage counselors can teach a shy individual to use communication tools.  These types of tools have been shown to create a sense of safety so that a couple shy or not, can have connection rather than conflict.
More information: The article "Shyness and Marriage: Does Shyness Shape Even Established Relationships?" in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin is available free for a limited time at Shyness and Marriage.
For more relationship advice, free resources and quality marriage counseling please visit our website at Portland Relationship Center.