The psychology of seeing your partner with rose-tinted glasses

Even if you’ve never heard the term “partner enhancement,” chances are you’ve experienced it many times in your life. And chances are you’ve experienced it in both giving and receiving.

What is Companion Enhancement? Perhaps the easiest way to explain it is to first look at a different relationship in which one might experience what we’ll call “parent enhancement.” Think of all those times your parents played a feat and how good it feels for the child. Examples include an outpouring of praise and support after jumping off a swing or diving board, celebrating a “graduation” from preschool or kindergarten, or cheering after a performance (let’s be honest, rather mutilated) of a song during a piano recital.

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Parents amplify their children’s praise and support partly because they want the child to feel special and valued, of course, but we also tend to really view our children as something even more special than most children. Which, statistically speaking, is most not the same way averages work.

When it comes to partner enhancement, however, the person who gets the high opinion isn’t the one who benefits so directly: you are. The better you feel about your partner, the more you see him as a special, talented and interesting person, the better your relationship will be. And that’s true even though, frankly, they’re not that unique to a person. It works even better if they think the same of you.

How Partner Improvement Helps New Relationships Grow Stronger


The first days of a relationship are a watershed moment. As you get to know someone, you may soon discover that there is simply no true romantic connection, no shared interests or ethics, and no real hope for a relationship. ‘coming. On the other hand, if you and a new boyfriend or girlfriend begin to truly connect, you’ll likely soon begin to engage in what psychologists and relationship experts call partner enhancement.

Simply put, you can think of it as looking at your partner through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. You’ll elevate their accomplishments – from a funny joke or anecdote to a meal he cooks to a project she does at work and so on – even beyond the objective merits of what they’ve done. , seeing that person as talented, competent and attractive. In the early days of a relationship, we tend to seek out and identify a myriad of positives about our new significant other, and we also tend to be able to downplay their negative traits and flaws – that too is a type of partner enhancement.

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As a relationship progresses over the years, the partner’s improvement tends to fade to some degree. We still care a lot about our partner and see them in a positive light (in a good, loving relationship, anyway) and we still have reason to support and celebrate them often, but we’re not as likely to see every little thing he does. so amazing. We are also much more likely to get annoyed by their quirks and habits.

But that’s okay: assuming you’re saying you’re in a long-term union, partner enhancement has already done its job.

Why it’s normal for partner enhancement to fade over time

two young people on a bench during the day

The fact that you celebrate every little detail of your significant other in the early days of romance and come to see them more for who they really are (the old phrase “warts and all” is a little insensitive but illustrious well the point here) is nothing to be sad about.

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The fact is that during the first days of partner improvement, you are building the foundation of your relationship. If you and your boyfriend or girlfriend become close and loving enough at the start of your partnership, chances are that the foundation of romance will be strong enough to last for the long haul, even after those rose-colored glasses have been exchanged. against reading glasses.

The flip side of the partner enhancement equation

loving mature couple

If you always find yourself seeing the negative things in your partner – doing the complete opposite of partner improvement, in fact – then that’s a red flag for the relationship in the early days, and it just might be a sign that you shouldn’t commit to being with that person.

On the other hand, if you have been in a long and more or less loving and successful romantic relationship for a long time and yet you now see yourself identifying fewer and fewer positive traits and seeing more negatives about your partner, then this may be a question that has more to do with you than your partner. It’s important to take an honest look at yourself and determine if you’re unhappy with your own life and if you’re projecting that unhappiness onto the other person and your relationship.

It’s also entirely possible that your partner is making you feel down or leaving you unsatisfied, and in that case, that’s a problem you need to work through together. The most important point is to realize that the partner you are with today may not have changed over time, but rather you may have changed the way you see them. It may take some effort later in the relationship to look for the good and ignore some of the shortcomings, but the effort is worth it if it means you can both carry on happily together, through the good times, the bad times. bad and boring times. times too.


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