The scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University in Illinois have found why some people have a happy and lasting marriage, while other marriages fail. As it turned out, the point is in the DNA. The gene, involved in the regulation of serotonin, can affect the period of keeping emotions in a relationship. This is reported in the scientists’ press release.
The experts point out that this study is the first to reveal the relationship between genes, emotions and satisfaction in marriage. It has long been a mystery why some spouses bring lightness, romance, and positive emotions to the relationship, and others simply pay no attention to it. According to one of the authors, Robert Levenson, this genetic discovery enabled the scientists to understand the role of emotions in different people.
During the 20-year study, which involved 150 couples, the scientists discovered a link between the relationship and different forms of the 5-HTTLPR gene (alleles). Each person inherits the gene from parents. The participants with two short alleles were the most unhappy in the marriage (the couple had negative emotions, anger, contempt), and those who had one or two long alleles, felt happier, they were kind to the partner in the relationship.
People with two short alleles are like greenhouse plants, flowering in the house where the emotional atmosphere is good and withering when it is unfavorable. But people with one or two long alleles are less sensitive to the emotional climate. Neither of these genetic variants is inherently bad or good. According to Claudia Haase, each of them has advantages and disadvantages.
The scientists note that the relationship between genes, emotions and marital satisfaction in older couples is the most noticeable. As R. Levenson puts it, the fact that we are most susceptible to the effect of genes in older age may be a possible explanation for this.
The researchers’ study was published in the Emotion journal.