Entries in relationship advice (31)


Old (and Sexist) Advice About Paying Attention to Other Men

Interested in learning more about paying attention to alternative partners? Click here.


Relationship Advice: Take the Rose-Colored Glasses Quiz!

Have you ever gotten really bad relationship advice? I certainly have. I remember reading one book that suggested I ignore fourth-fifths of a man’s text messages and emails to make him crazy about me. Apparently, the authors thought dating only desperate guys would be a good idea. 

I’ve also seen friends worry over personality differences between themselves and a partner. “Does it mean we aren’t compatible?” they wonder. Even though a large-scale study conducted in several countries found that having “compatible personalities” has hardly any impact on relationship satisfaction,1 the concept remains popular. The idea that certain couples have “compatible personalities” just sounds true—look at astrology and E-Harmony’s matching system—so it continues to masquerade as “good advice.”

If questionable advice is easy to find, where can you turn for good advice about dating and relationships? Relationships always involve uncertainty and trial-and-error, but knowing where to focus your attention can help. Decades of relationship research points to a set of “predictive factors,” or special traits and experiences that best predict relationship success. If you know your predictive factors and pay close attention to those areas as your relationships unfold, you’ll be prepared to make better decisions about your love life.

I’ve been on the trail of these “predictive factors” for a while now, and have written about four of them already—commitment, love, satisfaction, and closeness. Today I’m going to unveil the fifth. This one is interesting folks. It hasn’t been studied a lot, but in one huge analysis of 37,761 dating couples, it surprised everyone by emerging as the top predictor of long-term relationship success.2 I love unexpected results like this—it’s a good thing when scientists are surprised, right?

Before I pull back the curtain, why don’t you take today’s relationship quiz. It’s short, just 15 multiple-choice questions, and the personal feedback at the end will give you some insight into where your own relationship stands in this critical area. I recommend taking it now, before reading further, so you can give your natural responses.


Editors' note: This quiz is part of a project on great relationships conducted by contributor 
Melissa Schneider, LMSW, and is not supervised or conducted by ScienceOfRelationships.com,
other contributors, or the academic institutions affliliated with other contributors.

Click to read more ...


Direct Communication is Best, but the Benefits May Take Time

Imagine that in a recent discussion your partner said to you, “I get really frustrated when you interrupt me sometimes. I know you don’t do it on purpose, but it makes me feel like you’re not listening or that my feelings aren’t important. Maybe in the future you could wait to see if I’ve had my say before you share your thoughts?” How would this make you feel? Perhaps you might appreciate that your partner put his/her concerns fairly nicely (s/he could have, for example, said, “For crying out loud, stop interrupting me! Don’t you ever listen to me or care about my feelings? It makes me wonder why I even bother with you!”), but chances are it would still feel bad in the short-term to find out that your partner is upset about something you’re doing. But now imagine that you pay attention to what your partner said, and over time you make sure that you listen to and acknowledge your partner’s thoughts without interrupting. It’s likely that down the road, the two of you will be much more satisfied with your relationship, in part because of the direct way your partner communicated with you when s/he asked you to change your behavior.

Click to read more ...


Communication Strategies In Relationships: What Are They, and Which Is Best?

Communication is an important part of romantic relationships, especially when navigating conflict or when trying to change a partner’s behavior. Although dealing with these issues can sometimes be distressing, it can also serve as an opportunity for you and your partner to learn about each other and improve your relationship.1 Indeed, by the end of this article, I hope it is clear that what matters most is not the presence of conflict itself, but rather how you and your partner handle the conflict (i.e., the communication strategies you use). 

Click to read more ...


Have We Been Dating Too Long?

I've been in a relationship for over 5 years. We are both still young and plan to get married eventually in the future. I was wondering if there are any down sides in having long-term relationships. I feel very secure and confident in our relationship, but just as I've heard that short relationships (or courtships) can be a bad thing, I'm wondering if it works the same for long lasting relationships? -- V.N.

Click to read more ...


10 Things that TV and Movies Teach Us about Relationships

My mom used to say that watching TV would “rot your brain.” While I think she was probably right (fun fact: moms are always right), on occasion TV and movies can teach us a thing or two about our relationships. Here are ten relationship lessons that the writers at ScienceofRelationships.com have culled from TV shows and movies like Twilight, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory and many others:

1. Expose Yourself, Get Liked

In this case, “expose” means that you should be in close proximity so that the person sees you and can interact with you (so please keep your pants on). On How I Met Your Mother, Barney describes this idea in his “Mermaid Theory.” Read more here.

Click to read more ...


After The Rebound… What Next?

Q: How likely is it that a rebound relationship (one where your lover dumps you and then gets with someone else immediately) will last? Also, how likely is it for two people who were once lovers to get back together, particularly after seeing/being with other people?

Thank you for these two interesting questions! I’m going to answer them one at a time.

1. How likely is it that a rebound relationship will last?

That really depends on two factors: the quality of the rebound relationship, and the strength of the rebounder’s attachment to their ex...

Click to read more ...


I Kissed a Boy…and my Boyfriend Didn’t Like It!

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!!

Click to read more ...


Ask Dr. Loving: When Should I Tell My Friends What I Think About Their Relationships?

Is there any research that shows how or when to express your feelings (positive or negative) about a friend’s relationship?

Let’s back up and start with a more basic question: Does your opinion matter? Absolutely. Knowing what others think about our romances is a critical piece of information if those relationships are going to survive.

Click to read more ...


Good Grief, Charlie Brown. Just Read SofR.


Rekindle the Romance in Your Relationship with Self-Expansion

If your relationship has become a bit stagnant, it likely lacks sufficient self-expansion.  As we’ve discussed previously, self-expansion refers to people’s inherent desires to improve themselves and relationships serve as a key route to accomplishing this goal. However, many relationships are in a rut or otherwise feel a bit stagnant, stale, or boring. Want to learn about some strategies for improving your relationship that counteract boredom by fostering self-expansion? Read on... 

Click to read more ...


Invest in Your Relationship by Talking about Money

Some people find it tacky to talk about money in the context of love. They say, “All you need is love, love is priceless, and love conquers all.” Our cultural milieu tells us that if we are worried about money then we must be greedy, selfish, or shallow. Many of us listen to these messages and-- rather than talking about money with our beloved-- avoid the subject altogether, figuring that with strong love, practical concerns like income, debt, expenses, and spending habits will resolve themselves. 

Click to read more ...


New Year’s Resolutions for Your Relationship

It seems as though there is a fairly standard list of New Year's resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, pay off credit card debt, and quit smoking/drinking. Perhaps you’ve gone beyond this list and added things like: spend less time on Facebook or watching TV, get organized, find a better job, fix up the house, stop procrastinating, etc.

Oddly (to us, anyways), although resolutions typically emphasize physical and mental health, they generally ignore relationship health. To address this oversight, here is list of 7 scientifically-validated ways you can improve your relationships culled from recent research.

Click to read more ...


Should I Move On or Go Back?

A reader wrote in with the following dilemma: "I'm currently with a boy that I've been with for 2 months, he is so sweet, and treats me like a princess, something I've always wanted. Although, I can't seem to stop talking to my ex bf. I feel like it has to do with the fact that I moved on too quick, it was like a month that I moved on and I was with my ex for 3 yrs. I just don't know what to do with my situation, I'm the type of person that doesn't like to hurt anyone but that's too late. Every time I'm with my ex I get weak, and it gets so hard for me to tell him I can't talk to him anymore, because I know that's the best option for me. Every time I'm with my current bf, everything seems right, but I here and there think about my ex. I need help on what to do, because I will always love my ex, but I have strong feelings for my current bf."

Click to read more ...


Ask Siri for Relationship Advice

What does Siri have to say when asked about relationships? Smart.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.


Wanna Snag a Man? Don't Follow "The Rules"

The authors of the popular self-help book The Rules claim they can help women capture a perfect man and lure him into marriage. All you have to do is follow a list of relatively simple rules, which essentially equate to playing hard to get. The Rules was an overnight best-seller, and has since become something of a mantra for thousands of dating women – or “Rules Girls” – to live by. Clearly, this relationship advice is wildly popular. But, is it scientifically sound?

Click to read more ...


Hit the Road, Improve Your Relationship

Summer is a terrific time to take a well-deserved vacation (click here to learn about what makes vacations great). Often those vacation plans include the opportunity to travel. Regardless of the specifics of your travel plans, you will often share the experience with a romantic partner.

Click to read more ...


Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth

According to Dr. John Gray’s popular series of self-help relationship books, men and women struggle with one another in their relationships because they are from “different planets.”

One of our readers, Lizette, was curious about the validity of the claims made in Gray’s books. Specifically, she asked: What truth is there to Dr. John Gray's (Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) theory that men are like rubber bands?

Click to read more ...


Are Romance Novels "Addictive"?

One of the things we like to do here at Science of Relationships is to let you know when we see relationship “mis-information” being pushed out there in media-land. Here’s a good one!

Recently, a major national newspaper contacted us for our views on an op-ed piece written by Kimberly Sayer-Giles, who recently was named one of the top 20 “Advice Gurus” by Good Morning America (ABC News). 

The article, Romance Novels Can Be As Addictive As Pornography, makes some profound claims and got a few of us lusting to answer back!

Click to read more ...


10 Dating Tips from ScienceOfRelationships.com

Sure, you can get dating tips and advice almost anywhere. But how much of it is good advice that is actually grounded in scientific research? Here are 10 dating tips that represent a “greatest hits” of sorts from our previous articles. If you are interested in reading more about any of the tips on the list, you can click on each to read the full article. 

  1. No spark? No problem. Chemistry may take time to develop.
  2. To get someone interested, avoid playing hard to get.
  3. Go easy on the Facebook use; de-friending former partners may not hurt either.
  4. A little distance never hurt anyone.
  5. Overly confident and self-assured people may not make the best partners.
  6. Find a partner that shares your interests and hobbies, and is generally like you. 
  7. Lots of conflict is a bad sign…It's not a sign of someone who cares.
  8. It isn’t a good idea to rely on love at first sight as the test of potential relationship success.
  9. Give the relationship some time before making a big commitment.
  10. Make sure your relationship has something in it for you.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.