File image: The fear of a breakup may be good for a couple. Pexels

It is relationship advice which goes back decades – ‘treat ‘em mean and keep ‘em keen'. 

And now scientists have found a fear of getting dumped really can be good for a couple.

People who are afraid their relationship may end are more committed and feel more strongly about their partner, research suggested.

The study involved 104 people in relationships. To manipulate fears of a break-up, participants were either told 86 per cent, 52 per cent or 14 per cent of couples split after two years. 

A last group were not told anything about relationships.

They were all then asked how they felt about their relationship. Those manipulated to have a moderate fear of a split felt more strongly about their partner.

The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, was carried out at San Raffaele University in Italy.

Dr Giuseppe Pantaleo said: ‘Obstacles [to romance] make our feelings toward the romantic partner grow stronger.'