Does your partner have a lot of self-control, or does he or she always seem to be depleted of it? The answer could affect the way you make decisions.
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that in a relationship or partnership where both people have high self-control levels, they make better decisions -- such as saving money, or buying healthier foods -- than when both people have low self-control levels.
But what about when the self-control levels are not equally matched? Researchers from Boston College and the University of Pittsburgh found that when one person in a relationship has high levels of self-control while the other person has low levels of self-control, the joint decisions veer toward those that would have been made if both people had low levels of self-control.
The reason: “…The higher self-control individuals’ motivation to act in a prorelationship manner leads them to assent to their lower self-control partner’s indulgent preferences,” the researchers explained in the study.
In other words, the person with high self-control cares more about not rocking the boat and maintaining peace and harmony in the relationship, so they’re willing to go along with the less-wise decision.
Therefore, “the safest route to success for higher self-control individuals is to partner with others of the same capacity,” the researchers wrote. “However, higher self-control individuals should be wary of partnering with low self-control individuals. The likelihood is that their tendency to engage in prorelationship behaviors may negate their innate advantages in pursuing long-term goals.”