We have all been there – a hot first date, the tingle of excitement when we first kiss, followed by the unstoppable smile when we get a text or call from them over the next couple of days… And oh my, the first time we get completely nudie with one another it it works!!! The thing is we all know it does not last forever.
I was recently reading a synopsis of a study that concluded it was not all these sweet sensations that help us make the decision to ‘stay or go’ but rather it is the yucky stuff. That’s right we don’t tend to look at all the positive things about this potential partner, we like to focus in on all the stuff we don’t like. When you read it, this may sound surprising but we all know it’s true – just think about the last time you did the ‘go’ and what factors motivated this decision…
This study is interesting as the research team conducted six separate experiments and found that we tend to benchmark on seven factor to stay or go:
The social status of the other person;
Their undesirable personality traits or another words the little habits that tick us off;
Their level of unattractiveness – this can be physical attractiveness to smell and again habits;
Their unhealthy lifestyle – do they eat too much junk food or not exercise enough this sort of thing;
Differing religious or spiritual beliefs;
Different relationship goals, such as long term commitment, monogamy, children, etc.;
As well as what the researchers as “different mating strategies” – this is sex and the way it is instigated and partaken in.
Doesn’t this tell us a lot? For me it concludes that when it comes to establishing long term committed relationships we instinctively choose to avoid negative experiences, as opposed to exploring positive connections. This is not to say that in avoiding the negative we can have a positive dynamic; I just say it is real interesting that we appear to instinctively choose to benchmark the potential of a relationship on what negatives we would like to avoid in our lives…
As someone suggested to me it proves that it is not me it actually is you that is the problem in a relationship for in deciding to stay or go I am make a risk aversion decision about my future!
NB: First published at Shane Warren Coaching & Counselling Services