Marriage not going the way you expected? Don’t blame yourself, chances are it’s not your fault – blame that pesky DNA of yours instead.
According to scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, one of the body’s genes that has an influence on serotonin levels could have a marked impact on the emotions that determine the success or otherwise of relationships like marriage.
“An enduring mystery is, what makes one spouse so attuned to the emotional climate in a marriage and another so oblivious?” stated Robert W. Levenson, lead author of the study.
“With these new genetic findings, we now understand much more about what determines just how important emotions are for different people.”
The study brought to light the link between a gene known as 5-HTTLPR and the amount of satisfaction and happiness a person gets from their relationships. The gene is passed down from both parents and could therefore hold the key to understanding why some marriages flourish and others fail before even getting off the ground.
“We are always trying to understand the recipe for a good relationship, and emotion keeps coming up as an important ingredient,” Levenson added.
However, the team behind the study was keen to point out that the results do not suggest that people with different types of 5-HTTLPR are unable to enjoy happy marriages together. The data instead seems to indicate that individuals with two short 5-HTTLPR genes are more prone to being affected by the ‘emotional climate’ of their relationships.
“Individuals with two short alleles of the gene variant may be like hothouse flowers, blossoming in a marriage when the emotional climate is good and withering when it is bad,” added Claudia M. Haase, one of the researchers behind the report.
“Conversely, people with one or two long alleles are less sensitive to the emotional climate.”