People who can laugh at themselves are happier in their relationships, says science

As Brits, quick-wit and great humour play a huge part in our lives. But while it’s no secret that we can dish it out, how many of us can handle being on the receiving end? Well, according to a new study, your ability to handle being the butt of a joke can have a direct affect on the quality of your romantic relationships.

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Teasing and making fun of a love interest has always been a pretty common form of flirting – be it in the school playground or at your local nightclub. However, new research by Psychologists at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Germany have found that the way people deal with being laughed at can affect how satisfied they are with their romantic relationships overall.

The researchers carried out the study by conducting separate interviews with more than 150 heterosexual couples in which they asked them specific questions designed to provide a snapshot of their relationship satisfaction. They then looked into the way the participants felt about being laughed at and how they felt about laughing at others.

Their results showed that the people who encouraged others to laugh at them generally reported positive effects on their relationship, especially women who deliberately provoked their partner to make fun of them. Kay Brauer, one of the lead psychologists on the study, explained that those women ‘reported more often that they tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt more attracted to their partner.’

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Brauer then highlighted that the women who were comfortable laughing at themselves ‘also tended to be equally satisfied with their sex life,’ and so were their partners.

On the other hand however, the men and women who disliked being laughed at by their partners or laughing at themselves turned out to be less happy in their relationship and were more likely to mistrust their partner, according to the study that was published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Additionally, the research suggested that men were more likely than women to say that they didn’t feel satisfied with their sex lives if their wife or girlfriend was nervous about being laughed at.