While play and playfulness have been studied well in children, their structure and consequences are understudied in adults. A new article now declares that playfulness is also important in romantic relationships.
The article – “Adult playfulness: An update on an understudied individual differences variable and its role in romantic life” by Kay Brauer, René T. Proyer and Garry Chick – was published in Social and Personality Psychology Compass.
According to the authors, playfulness boosts relationships because:
- it encourages the experience of positive emotions and might relate to potential biological processes, such as the activation of hormones and certain brain circuits
- it influences how people communicate and interact with each other, for example by helping to deal with stress, and solving interpersonal tension
- it can impact relationship satisfaction and trust, ultimately affecting the longevity of relationships
“Being playful contributes to most people’s love lives,” said lead author Brauer. “Playful behaviors such as surprising the partner, retelling and reenacting joint experiences with the partner, or jointly forming new experiences often contribute to the happiness and longevity of relationships.”