Sammi came back to the house, swore that she and Ron were over, they got drunk and ended up back together…for about a day before they started fighting again. This may be the least surprising series of developments on the Jersey Shore, well aside from Snooki getting arrested for public drunkenness. The roommates knew this was coming and that there was going to be a big fight. Paulie even remarked how he was going to get some popcorn, sit on the couch and watch the upcoming “movie” of the inevitable Ron and Sammie fight. Everyone thought the chain of events was obvious, yet Ron and Sammie tried to work it out.
Why? Well, one reason that Sammi gave on was that Ron seemed to be different and seemed to have changed. It was as if the few days they spent apart fixed everything. While that may have been her perception, this type of change isn’t realistic. There is a common saying in psychology that says, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”1 Research shows that a person’s previous actions lead to those behaviors becoming a habit. Since it’s a habit, the behavior becomes automatic and reoccurs more easily. This is true of all types of behaviors. For example, if you have tended to get easily stressed out in the past over work or school, you are more likely to continue getting stressed out in the future.
The same happens in relationships. In Ron and Sammi’s relationship, the past communication patterns involved a lot of fighting. Sure it might have been uncomfortable or seemed like a problem the first few times, but each subsequent time tends to get easier and easier. So much so that for Ron and Sammi, fighting and yelling and name-calling and pushing each other became a habit (not to mention abusive). Whether its biting your nails, procrastinating, or arguing with your partner, bad habits are hard to break. Chances are if a relationship was full of fighting or other unhealthy behaviors in the past, those behaviors will more than likely continue in the future whether it is on Jersey Shore or in your own life.
1Ouellette, J. A., & Wood, W. (1998). Habit and intention in everyday life: The multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 54-74.
Dr. Gary Lewandowski – Science of Relationships articles | Website
Dr. Lewandowski’s research explores the self’s role in romantic relationships focusing on attraction, relationship initiation, love, infidelity, relationship maintenance, and break-up. Recognized as one of the Princeton Review’s Top 300 Professors, he has also authored dozens of publications for both academic and non-academic audiences.