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Married Strangers

Married people may think they communicate well with their partners, but psychologists have found that they don’t always convey messages to their loved ones as well as they think--and in some cases, the spouses communicate no better than strangers.

Tears are one of the ways women communicate: When they cry, they're often trying to send a message to the men in their lives, and it turns out that some of these messages are encoded in the actual tears themselves: Merely sniffing a woman's tears REDUCES sexual arousal in men. Neurobiologists collected tears from women watching sad movies in a lab, then tested to see if men could recognize the difference between the tears and an ordinary saline (salt water) solution. Since tears are odorless, the researchers were surprised to find that sniffing the real tears led to a including a significant dip in testosterone, which is the hormone related to sexual arousal, which means that crying may be an important weapon in a woman's arsenal when it comes to producing a gentler man.

Behavioral scientist Nicholas Epley says, "Our problem in communicating with friends and spouses is that we have an illusion of insight. Getting close to someone appears to create the illusion of understanding more than actual understanding." So if words don't work, tears may do the job.

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