Advice From a Behavioral Economist on Dating and Relationships

January 6, 2017 by Justin Lehmiller

“When we are in a relationship but continuously with one foot out and continuously thinking about how the outside world is more tempting and more interesting and so on, it’s actually not a good recipe for investing in a relationship. It’s not a zero-sum game–it gets better when you invest in it.” – Dan Ariely

A lot of people in relationships find that their partner has one or two (or maybe twenty) quirks or habits that annoy them. In these situations, it’s tempting to think that you might be happier if you were to end things and start going out with someone new. After all, chances are that your new partner won’t have the same peccadillos. However, according to behavioral economist Dr. Dan Ariely, this kind of thinking can set you up for a lifetime of disappointment.

According to Ariely, when you approach relationships with a “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” mentality, it’s inherently destructive because it discourages people from investing. In other words, when we idealize our romantic alternatives, we don’t put forth the time and effort necessary to build the foundation for a successful relationship.

To learn more about Ariely’s take on relationships, check out the video below.

Watch more videos on the science of sex and relationships here.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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