Finally, the true secret to a happy marriage is revealed. Get angry

It is often said that it is better to forgive  and forget.

But psychologists say actually getting angry  can be the best way to solve relationship problems.

James McNulty, associate professor at the  University of Tennessee, found that forgiving may actually build up resentment.

The key to a happy marriage: It is not always best to forgive and forget, say Florida researchers

The key to a happy marriage: It is not always best to  forgive and forget, say Florida researchers

He said the ‘short-term discomfort of an  angry but honest conversation’ can benefit the health of a relationship  in the  long term.

‘I continued to find evidence that thoughts  and behaviors presumed to be associated with better wellbeing lead to worse  wellbeing among some people – usually the people who need the most help  achieving wellbeing.’

McNulty therefore set out to examine the  potential costs of positive psychology. In a set of recent studies, he found  that forgiveness in marriage can have some unintended negative effects.

‘We all experience a time in a relationship  in which a partner transgresses against us in some way,’ he said.

‘For example, a partner may be financially  irresponsible, unfaithful, or unsupportive.

‘When these events occur, we must decide  whether we should be angry and hold onto that anger, or forgive.’

His research found a variety of factors can  complicate the effectiveness of forgiveness, including a partner’s level of  agreeableness and the severity and frequency of the transgression.

‘Believing a partner is forgiving leads  agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable  people to be more likely to offend that partner,’ he said.

Additionally, he claims, anger can serve an  important role in signaling to a transgressing partner that the offensive  behavior is not acceptable.

‘If the partner can do something to resolve a  problem that is likely to otherwise continue and negatively affect the  relationship, people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily  withholding forgiveness and expressing anger.’

However, McNulty found there was no single  answer to the problem.

There is no ‘magic bullet,’ no single way to  think or behave in a relationship.

‘The consequences of each decision we make in  our relationships depends on the circumstances that surround that  decision.’

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