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Is a supportive partner relaxed or aggressive?

"Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude;" Philippians 3:15

To be supportive does a partner has to be strong, vicious, aggressive, overly assertive, forceful, confident or firm?
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

How often a partner accuses a relaxed, peaceful, and composed partner as a blase - unconcerned? How often the opposite of such characteristic results in relational conflicts? Outlook of few may differ on how a supportive partner should be like. Fantasies may exist that to be supportive a partner has to be strong, vicious, aggressive, overly assertive, forceful, confident or firm. Others may have the outlook that a supportive partner should display worry, concern, troubled look, upset or share the misery, suffering, pain, anguish, agony or grief. A few may expect the partner to share the sorrow, or may be viewed as an indifferent, or even as a cold "sociopath".

A few may expect the partner to be charming, persuasive, captivating, charismatic, attractive, alluring, enthralling, enchanting, delightful or entrancing when needed to be supportive. A partner needing support may had created a lock and key mentality. The lock being their 'whole being' in need of support and the key being the right configuration the supportive partner has to be before the support is accepted. A supportive partner may be expected to be the just fit to the solution if his or her conduct is in a particular manner.

The above percepts may, or may not, translate to reality at the time of giving and receiving support. Expectations - past experience about the way a supportive partner 'should be' may then conflict with the actual display of the partner in a helping situation. For example, if a female partner has past experience (with a male figure in her life) displaying anger about an intruding problem, she may reject the support of a, current, relaxed male partner about a current intruding problem.

In a December 1997 research appearing in the journal "Personal Relationships", authors Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, Gregory L. Stuart, Elizabeth Sandin, Natalie Smutzler, and Wendy Mclaughlin showed that facing wife's problems:

1. aggressive husbands extended fewer support than nonaggressive husbands

2. aggressive husbands were less helpful and more confrontational, argumentative, dictatorial, over-bearing, dominant, disdainful, scornful, condescending, despicable, shocked, revolted, dismayed, and distressed, saddened, grieved, disappointed, disconcerted, disturbed or troubled

3. aggressive husbands were antagonistic, irritable, furious, showed rage, resentment, apprehension, stress, nervousness and worry

4. aggressive, but not worried, husbands were more serious, perilous, disapproving, nit-picking, disparaging, judgmental, unsympathetic, derogatory or fault-finding

5. aggressive and worried husbands were more judgmental, unfavorable, disapproving and fault finding about his own wife's alternative resolutions, explanations or the 'way out'