Butting Out of Your Relationship

Published | Tags: , , ,


“I love you, but you’re being ridiculous right now.”

“I’m sorry you’re hurt, but what I said was true.”

“I shouldn’t have done that, but you shouldn’t have said what you did.”

All three of these statements are ones you may have said or heard in your own relationship, and as well intended as they may be, they are completely useless. The first part of the statement – the apology or admission of love – is retracted as soon as it is followed up with a contradicting “but.”

The word “but” is: “used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned,” and therefore is the last thing you want to hear following a compliment or an apology. Yet so many of us seem to rely on that double edged tactic.

I hear statements like these a lot in session with couples in distress. As they try to communicate with one another, they struggle to allow themselves to be left defenseless. Years, months, or even weeks of feeling like enemies rather than teammates has left each partner feeling ... Read more »


The Formula for Fairytales

Published | Tags: , , , ,


Growing up I loved being read bedtime fairytales. The most important stories in my mind always ended with the same phrase: “And they all lived happily ever after.” Yet, I never could imagine my princes and princesses in any sort of married life. They weren’t couples doomed to argue over who did the dishes, or how to raise children, they just lived in the same continued bliss of their courtship, never getting older or becoming less in love, no matter how many years passed.

Now that I’m older, however, I realize how much work goes into finding “happily ever after;” it isn’t something that comes easy after finding the perfect fit for that glass slipper. That being said, I am always looking for a quick answer to one big question. Is there any way to tell whether a relationship is destined for a disastrous divorce or if it’s a happily ever after fairytale? According to Mathematician Hannah Fry, it may be as simple as a formula.

In her newly released book The Mathematics of Love, Fry explains that the ... Read more »


To Fall in Love with Anybody Try This…

Published | Tags: , , , ,


Did you know you can fall in love with someone simply by asking them 36 personal questions? Such a concept was first introduced in 1997 by researcher Arthur Aron and has been producing results in participants since then.

The set up is simple. A heterosexual man and woman enter a lab separately, they sit face-to-face and ask a series of increasingly more personal questions, taking turns to answer. They then hold silent eye contact with each other for four minutes. As simple and silly as may sound, there have been significant results, the most notably being two participants who were married six months after completing the experiment.

But what is so magical and romantic about this study? Does it matter what 36 questions are asked or how they are answered? According to the study’s authors, yes. The 36 questions are separated into three sets, with each set becoming more personal than the last. The concept that the study is based on is that mutual vulnerability creates closeness. As Dr. Aron explains,

“One key pattern associated with the development of ... Read more »


Is Your Partner the Right Age For You?

Published | Tags: , , ,


Have you ever been told about the formula for calculating how young of a woman a man can date and marry?  It is simple.  For the man: divide your current age by two and add 7.  If I were 30 years old then this calculation might look something like this: 30/2 = 15 +7 = 22.  That means I should not date or marry any woman younger than 22 years old. But is there anything scientific about this formula?  Does it really matter how old our partner is?

In some ways perhaps it does, although it might have more to do with preferences and less to do with happy relationships.  According to Jane Conway and a team of scholars in The Netherlands, the age of the person we date or marry may have a long history from the days of evolution.  In a recent study, they found evidence for one theory about why we prefer certain ages in our romantic partners.

Men

Men generally prefer women younger than themselves.  Based on Evolutionary Theory, this may be because younger women are more fertile ... Read more »


Playing the Love Game

Published | Tags: , , ,


If you were to do a Google search on “love is a game,” you would find a large number of quotes from authors, philosophers, musicians, and everyday people who have felt like love is just a game.

“Love is a losing game.”  

“Love is a game in which one always cheats.”

“Love is a game that two can play and both win.”

So is love really just a game?  How is it possible that some believe it is always a losing game while others believe two can win?  What strategies can we use to make sure we are winners?

According to a recent study by Mons Bendixen and Leif Kennair from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, there are two main strategies we often use to find love and attract potential partners.  What do these two strategies look like and do they both work?  If not, which one will make you a winner?

Competitor Derogation

Competitor derogation is the strategy of making others look less attractive than ourselves.  Name calling, spreading rumors, or pointing out a rivals more negative qualities are all examples of ... Read more »


The Ripe Age for Marriage

Published | Tags: , , , , ,


Have you ever been given the advice that you should wait to marry until after 25, or maybe even as late as 30? Would you give that same advice to someone else?

Chances are, most of us have heard at some point in our lives that getting married too young is a recipe for disaster. And when it comes to basic divorce statistics, such wisdom seems to be supported. But what is too young? Is there really something magical about 25 years old?

According to Norval Glenn at the University of Texas at Austin, 25 years does make a significant difference in the success of marriage, but it may not be in the direction you think.

The Best Age

In his study, Glenn argues that one of the main reasons we are seeing a large incline in the average at at first marriage, approaching 30 for men and 28 for women, is consistent findings in research that the risk of divorce continues to drop with age. Teen weddings are clearly not supported. And since 30 year olds show a lower risk of divorce ... Read more »


For Love or Money

Published | Tags: , , , ,


Financial issues are a great source of tension in many people’s lives. Students may have to take out loans in order to cover the cost of tuition, housing, and books. Couples may struggle to afford mortgages or rent costs. New parents feel the joy of their baby mixed with the pain of medical bills. It seems no matter who you are, it’s hard to avoid money problems.

Unfortunately, financial strain can take a great toll on relationships. Statistics indicate that the #1 topic of argument in relationships is money, and money is often linked as a significant cause for divorce. The big question is: if everyone struggles with finances at some point, how can we keep our relationships from suffering?

A study by Barton, Futris, and Nielson discusses one key tactic for reducing financial based conflict within marriages.

Expressing Gratitude

When gratitude is expressed regularly in relationships, the strain of finances is lessened. While it may seem more important to receive gratitude, than to express it, the study found that for both men and women, relationships become more stable when ... Read more »


Give Me Some Sugar, Sweetie.

Published | Tags: , , , ,


We’ve all seen this commercial: someone sees an attractive person coming their way, they smell their breath, realize it is horrible, and pop in a nice stick of Spearmint gum in the nick of time.  The attractive person approaches and our “personal space” is free for the kiss.  Spearmint has saved the day once again.

So can gum really improve your chances of meeting someone?  While having good breath certainly can’t harm your chances, perhaps taste has more power than we realize.

According to a recent study by Dongning Ren and a team of scholars at Purdue University, combining taste with romantic interest may be the secret to unlocking our “personal space” problem.

Sweet Tasting Love

Ren and her team wanted to know just what happened when people had something sweet to taste when thinking about love.  Does chewing gum really help us resize our personal space?  

Wanting love

When drinking or eating something sweet, it appears that we tend to think favorably about being in love.  Those in the study who had something sweet were more likely to express interest in starting a ... Read more »


Test Driving Sex

Published | Tags: , , ,


I recently saw a BuzzFeed video exploring what driver’s ed would be like if we taught people how to drive like we teach them about sex.  While hilarious, the video also shows just how ridiculous it is to compare driving a car to sexuality. Yet, there may be something to such a comparison.  Can we learn something about sex by comparing it to cars?

A recent study by Dean Busby and colleagues at Brigham Young University found two different models for how people think about when to have sex in relationships.  So which model works best, and why?  Let’s find out.

Compatibility: Test-Drive Model

“You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first, so why would you get married without testing the sex?”  This model depends on the belief that it is important to know if the sex is good or not before committing yourself to a relationship. In the study, couples who used the compatibility model were less stable and satisfied in their relationship, while those couples who waited until after marriage to have sex had the best relationship outcomes. ... Read more »


How to Master the First Date

Published | Tags: , , ,


Dating can be stressful. First there is the initial search for someone who you think you may be compatible with, then you panic, hope, and pray that they might be interested in going out with you. You take time getting the courage to approach them to ask, stocking up on sad movies and ice-cream at home in case they say no. But what about when they say yes? How do you make the most out of your first date?  

While you can find the perfect location, pick out the most flattering outfit, even make the best background music mix, you cannot plan what your date will do or how it will go. Luckily, there is research that can help you maximize how to make your best first impression and increase your likelihood of getting that sought after second date.  Below are the four ways to make sure your first dates are successful.

Smile. Researchers have found time and again that smiling is the best way to improve your face value. When individuals have been asked to choose between unsmiling faces and smiling ... Read more »