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Supercompensation in romantic relationship

Supercompensation principle can be applied not only in sports, but also in romantic relationships. Here different crises serve as “excercises” and recovery takes place when discussing things behind the crisis through with your partner and increasing intimacy. After this process, level of satisfaction to relationship and strength of relationship achieve higher levels, compared to pre-crisis situation.

I suddenly understood something last weekend. Namely, that different kind of difficult things that we face in our relationship may actually cause supercompensation to it and thus make the relationship even stronger than before. To let this happen, of course, issues have to be dealt in a right way.

Supercompensation – what it means?

Supercompensation principle is well known in sports. When training hard, capacity of body decreases temporarily. After recovery, meaning rest and healthy food, the fitness level reaches higher level than before training. You may read more about supercompensation e.g. in Wikipedia.

Supercompensation in relationship

In relationship, exercises are replaced with different kind of crises and fitness level with strength of relationship (or ones satisfaction to relationship). When crisis hits the relationship, the satisfaction and thus also the strength of relationship decreases. The more difficult the crises, the more the levels drop. If recovery will not take place, there’s increased risk for relationship “burnout”, meaning permanent decrease of relationship strength and satisfaction.

In sports recovery takes place through rest and right kind of nourishment. In relationship these are replaced by intimacy and communication. Communication here is a thorough discussion about the issues behind the crisis and about what happened in crisis. When these things have been talked through and consensus has been reached, there will be room for satisfaction in relationship again. However, simultaneously something has changed permanently – relationship has become stronger. There’s increased confidence on both parties that it’s possible to solve possible crises in the future also. The harder the crisis, the greater the effect. However, to reach this it has to be possible to reach full trust into each other again. So this is not a straightforward process in cases where trust has been lost through e.g. infidelity.

This process has been described in pictures below.

Supercompensation principle known in sports, may also be applied in romantic relationships. Here crises replace excercises and rest and nutrition are replaced by communication and intimacy.
If things are not resolved after crisis, supercompensation will not take place and levels of relationship strength and satisfaction remain in permanently lower levels. This increases the risk for divorce.


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