“Romantic compatibility theory”—it has a nice ring, doesn’t it? This theory suggests that relationship success is a function of the unique combination of two individuals’ qualities. He appreciates her art, they both love cycling, and her positivity keeps him motivated when he needs a boost. Obviously, such similarities and connections between partners impact romantic outcomes—right?
A reader recently sent in a comment about the men she was meeting online. She noted that, compared to other occupations, a majority of men who reported having MBAs misrepresented their custody arrangements with their kids (i.e., they claimed to have custody for less time than they actually did), and that lawyers were more likely to report being separated (versus divorced). I’m not sure whether these lawyers were more honest about their marital status than other guys or whether they were more likely to be separated in general, but she does pose an interesting question:
Do our career choices reflect our personalities, and if so, can our careers say something about how we operate and present ourselves in our intimate relationships? In other words, if I meet an MBA, can I draw conclusions about what he is like as a person and how he will act in a future relationship with me?
Many of you have probably seen this Google ad. But have you seen the parody ("Jen's Response")? If not, check back tomorrow for a good laugh. Together, these two clips highlight how easily reality is shaped by one's perspective. You and your (former) partner don't always recall your relationship in the same way...
In case you missed any of them, here are links to our articles from this week:
- Is Long-Term Love Possible?
- Pearl Jam Sex, Cosmo, and Self-Expansion
- Unrequited Love (Part 2 of 2): Stuck Between Friend and Friendlier
- I Kissed a Boy…and my Boyfriend Didn’t Like It!
- How to Make “Couple Friends” (and Why You Should)
- "Sexual Healing": Relationship Matters Podcast #12
- Massage Plus Plus: Indonesia, Happy Endings, and Child Sex Tourism
Here's what we've been reading this week:
If you want to read about love and marriage you've got to buy two separate books. ~ Alan King
Popular wisdom suggests that intensely passionate love is a rare phenomenon in long-term partnerships. The assumption is that passion peaks in the early stages of a relationship and then fades over time. In a recent study, however, researchers found that intense love for a partner (even after 30 years or more together) may not be as rare as people assume.
Dr. Gary Lewandowski was recently quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine, although we're pretty sure that he didn't recommend the part about getting it on while listening to Ten.
The article below is continued from Unrequited Love (Part 1): Crushin’ on or Crushed by You? Click here if you missed it.
In Part 1, my teenaged self confessed a long-time crush to a friend. Sometimes these situations can blossom into satisfying romantic relationships if both friends are harboring feelings for each other, but if the person who wants more (confessor) admits this to a desired friend who is uninterested (rejector), the two friends must deal with the resulting emotional fallout in their friendship.
The same researchers did a new follow-up study to uncover the specifics of how these friends behaved toward each other after the confessor had been rejected.1 It turns out that particular types of verbal and nonverbal behaviors in the friends’ interactions were indeed linked to whether or not the friendship ended.
My boyfriend and I of a very long time broke up two days ago, and I'm at a total loss of where to go from here. We had an amazing relationship with very little problems or issues, and I honestly thought that this could be my future husband. But about a month ago we were going through a rough patch and I made what is unquestionably the biggest mistake of my life and kissed another man. This man has no emotional meaning to me and it was a one-time occurrence.
I debated for weeks if I should tell him but I decided not to knowing he would break up with me and knowing it would never happen again. The man I kissed though had other plans and told others after I told him how important it was to keep between us because it had been a mistake. My boyfriend of course found out and asked me if had anything to tell him, and I confessed right then knowing he had found out. I told him how sorry I was and that there was absolutely no excuse for what I’d done. I told him the whole situation and that I only love him. I told him I wanted to work through it and earn his trust and forgiveness back but he broke up with me stating "I want to be with you but I have to break up with you".
So we haven't spoken in two days and here is my question for you. Do I let him go because I love him, or do I fight for him because I love him? I am 100% committed to fixing it and want him back but should I just set him free? He says he still loves me but should respect himself enough to break up with me. I have no idea what to do, but I know he's the one and I'm so lost. Please help!!
Social interactions of all flavors are important, and even your relationships need other relationships to keep things interesting. You might have a perfectly satisfying romantic relationship with your partner, but you might want to get some “couple friends” too (see this article at salon.com). How do friendships between couples develop, and are they important for your own romantic relationship?
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Tsachi Ein-Dor (Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel) discusses research on how we use sex to feel better. Check it out here.
Michelle Kaufman’s second travel stop for the sake of relationship science was in Indonesia—Jakarta and Bali. This time she talked to many businessmen, expatriates, and local Indonesians about their experiences with sexual pleasure and transactions.
In case you missed any of them, here are links to our articles from this week:
Advertisements for products “guaranteed” to add inches to men’s penises are everywhere, from awesomely bad late-night infomercials hosted by Ron Jeremy to annoying Internet pop-up ads for “natural male enhancement.” The sheer number of such ads and the millions of dollars men spend on penile enlargement products each year suggest that lots of guys are worried that their genitals aren’t big enough. But is “small penis syndrome” (yes, this is a real thing)1 as widespread as the popular media would lead us to believe? And does size really even matter that much to men or to women?
Breaking Up with Your Job: Mad Men Demonstrates What Work Relationships and Romantic Relationships Have in Common
In a recent episode of Mad Men, Peggy was seriously thinking about jumping ship from SCDP to another company. In case you’re not completely caught up with the show yet, I won’t tell you want she ended up choosing, but you can see how this could be a very difficult decision for her or for anyone contemplating leaving a job. On the one hand, Peggy likely holds some resentment for her boss and her coworkers, given that she has not always been treated fairly at SCDP; this dissatisfaction may motivate her to look elsewhere. On the other hand, as we know, breaking up is hard to do. What about all of the time and energy that she has put into the company over the years? And what about her loyalty to Don?
A newly released biography of Barack Obama by David Maraniss has drawn attention (see coverage here and here) to the president’s past. There’s nothing necessarily scandalous in the book, but it does focus on the relationships Obama had before he met Michelle. As a relationship scientist, this is a really cool (and rare) glimpse into Obama’s romantic life through the stories of young women who shared intimate moments with him.
Assuming no freak hospital mix-ups, mothers can be 100% sure that a child that she bears and raises is, in fact, genetically her own. Fathers, however, can’t be quite so sure. Even if “dad” engages in vigilant mate guarding, there’s always the possibility that his partner snuck off for some horizontal mambo action with another guy. Evolutionary psychologists call this the “paternal certainty problem”— men who have been cuckolded and are unknowingly raising a child that’s not their own have failed, from an evolutionary perspective, at passing on their genes. And it turns out that a significant number of men have failed to solve this problem.
The Consultant was back in town this week and invited me for dinner and a show. The last time I saw him was over two weeks ago for our first date, so I was excited. He picked me up wearing a suit and carrying a bouquet of flowers. Very nice. My mother, who lives with me and was watching my children for the night, was impressed.