Having Self Control in a Relationship

by Dr. Carol Morgan

Having self-control will get other people to value you more, according to a study by Duke University researchers published in June 2013 in "Psychological Science." When people feel valued, they are more satisfied in their relationships. People can learn to control their thoughts and behaviors. However, it requires having self-awareness and paying attention to how your behaviors affect other people.

Self-Control Contributes to Relationship Fulfillment

People with high self-control are less likely to sacrifice their needs for other people. Therefore, to have self-control in a relationship, you need to first determine your own needs and desires. Once you have a clear sense of yourself, then you will be able to express what you want to your partner more accurately. When people feel like their needs are being met, they tend to have more self-control. Lack of self-control usually happens when people are lashing out because of unmet emotional needs.

Self-Control Makes You More Self-Assured

People who have self-control feel more comfortable in social situations and are more self-assured, suggests a study by researchers Na and Paternoster published in "Criminology" in May 2012. American culture has clear rules for social behavior, and when someone does not meet those expectations, there are consequences. Therefore, having more self-control gives you an advantage with other people. If you can control what you say and do, then you will be rewarded for that behavior. It just starts with monitoring yourself.

Self-Control Makes You Healthier

Self-control actually contributes to overall health -- both mental and physical -- according to a study by researchers at the University of North Texas, as published in "Psychology and Health" in August 2011. When you have self-control, you monitor your thoughts. Many people are not aware of their thoughts or behavior. However, if either of these are negative, it can lead to stress -- and stress is a leading cause of relationship problems and physical disease, warns the American Psychological Association. Therefore, work on monitoring yourself. Keep a journal with your thoughts and behavior. It all begins with awareness. Once you are aware, you will become better at controlling yourself, and thus, keeping your relationships and your body healthy.

Self-Control Is Respected by Others

If you want another person to respect you, one of the components of doing this is controlling your own behavior, notes the 2013 Duke University study. There is a difference between what you think about, and what you speak or do. Everything you feel does not have to be exhibited in your words and actions. Self-control can earn you the respect of other people.

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  • Psychological Science; Low Self-Control Promotes the Willingness to Sacrifice in Close Relationships; Francesca Righetti
  • Criminology; Can Self-Control Change Substantially Over Time?: Rethinking the Relationship Between Self- and Social Control; Chongmin Na and Raymond Paternoster
  • Psychology & Health; The Relationship Between Self-Control and Health: The Mediating Effect of Avoidant Coping; Adriel Boals et al.
  • Psychological Science; Riding Other People’s Coattails: Individuals With Low Self-Control Value Self-Control in Other People.; Catherine Shea et al.
  • American Psychological Association: Stress a Major Health Problem in The U.S., Warns APA

About the Author

Dr. Carol Morgan holds a PhD in Communication, a Master of Arts in media criticism, and a Bachelor of Science in advertising. Dr. Morgan is a professor at Wright State University and is a regular motivational expert on the TV show, "Living Dayton." She is also the author of the book, "Radical Relationship Resource: A Guide for Repairing, Letting Go, or Moving On," a frequent keynote speaker, and the monthly co-host of "Dick Sutphen’s Metaphysical World" radio show.

Photo Credits

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