Gratitude is the best attitude. Love and happiness are closely associated with being grateful. On the other hand, it is so great when your partner notices your being grateful.

Please recall the last time you were thankful for someone. This was most likely because someone did something good for you. You were grateful, and you thanked your partner for doing this for you. Right?

Feeling and expressing gratitude to others are great experiences associated with positive relationship outcomes, including one’s feeling of being happy.

But what happens when your partner in a relationship perceives your gratitude towards them? Do they really see it? Do you see when someone is grateful to you for what you did for them?

How Can I Know that my Partner Sees Me Being Grateful for Him or Her?

First, it is necessary to understand how people perceive each other’s gratitude. And only then can we answer the question and understand whether perceiving a partner’s gratitude also benefits you and the relationship. These perceptions can be accurate or not. Actually, partners may not really notice that their partner is grateful to them. What a bummer, isn’t it?

What might that entail when your partner is grateful? Consider the following relationships: Monica and Chandler, Rachel and Ross, and Phoebe and Joey. If someone asked Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe to rate their partner’s gratitude, what would they say?

They might rate their partner’s gratitude as 7, 8, or 9 on a 10-point scale, respectively.

Then, we need to compare their perceptions of their partner’s gratitude with their partner’s actual gratitude. Right? Only then can we determine whether they are accurate or not and whether they are under- or over-perceiving their partner’s gratitude.

When asked, Chandler, Ross, and Joey might say they are grateful to their partners, rating their gratitude on a scale of 6, 7, and 8, respectively.

Do these women notice their partners’ being grateful? How can we know this?

If each woman underestimated their partner’s gratitude by one point, they were all inaccurate and somewhat biased. The fact that Rachel rated her partner higher than Monica or Phoebe and that this matches the pattern of their partners’ levels of gratitude shows that they were also largely accurate. However, Ross’s actual rating of gratitude was higher than Chandler’s and Joey’s ratings.

The key point here is that partners may underestimate or exaggerate their partner’s gratitude. However, they are still accurate about the relative levels of gratitude of their partners. They are relatively accurate in their perception of their partner’s being grateful.

How Accurate and Biased Are Partners’ Gratitude Perceptions of Each Other?

Hasagani Tissera, the graduate research student at McGill University, collaborated with other researchers working at McGill, York University, and the University of Toronto to explore this question. In two studies, which they administered among 514 couples, they asked each partner in the couple to report on how grateful they are and how grateful they believe their partner is. We also asked how partners are satisfied with their relationships. Researchers administered their survey by asking partners independently of each other.

Then, researchers compared partners’ perceptions of their partners’ gratitude with their partners’ actual gratitude. Surprisingly, they discovered that partners tended to underestimate their partners’ gratitude. Nevertheless, they remained reasonably accurate about it.

Why so?

Why Do Partners Fail to Recognize Others’ Being Grateful?

Obviously, it makes sense. It would be good and important to know how grateful your partner is. This makes them feel satisfied.

What might be less apparent is why people often don’t see how grateful their partner is. Why do partners tend to be biased in a certain way? What does it entail in a relationship?

Thinking that the other person isn’t as grateful as they really are might keep partners from getting too comfortable and push them to keep working on making the relationship better. This is different from thinking their partners are more thankful than they really are. The latter could cause them to put in less effort in the future and put the relationship at risk.

How Biased Gratitude Perceptions Affect Relationship Satisfaction

In fact, a relationship depends on how much a person underestimates their partner’s appreciation. If they are drastically off, it is associated with a less happy relationship. However, a small mistake in the perception of gratitude can make a relationship happier.

If partners do not believe their partners are grateful, despite the fact that they are extremely grateful, this could lead to serious problems in a relationship. The large gaps in partners’ underestimation of gratitude are detrimental to relationship satisfaction. However, a small gap appears to be beneficial.

Victor Karandashev

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