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These are the core obsessions that drive our newsroom—defining topics of seismic importance to the global economy. Our s are made to shine in your inbox, with something fresh every morning, afternoon, and weekend. This post originally appeared at WaitButWhy. And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people.
Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be. All the research on how vastly happiness varies between happy and unhappy marriages makes perfect sense, of course.
Well, start by subtracting your age from So given that this is by far the most important thing in life to get right, how is it possible that so many good, smart, otherwise-logical people end up choosing a life partnership that leaves them dissatisfied and unhappy? Studies have shown people to be generally bad, when single, at predicting what later turn out to be their actual relationship preferences. One study found that speed daters questioned about their relationship preferences usually prove themselves wrong just minutes later with what they show to prefer in the actual event.
Unfortunately, not many people have a chance to be in more than a few, if any, serious relationships before they make their big decision. No, when it comes to dating, society frowns upon thinking too much about it, instead opting for things like relying on fate, going with your gut, and hoping for the best. In other words, people end up picking from whatever pool of options they have, no matter how poorly matched they might be to those candidates. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that outside of serious socialites, everyone looking for a life partner should be doing a lot of online dating, speed dating, and other systems created to broaden the candidate pool in an intelligent way.
But good old society frowns upon that, and people are often still timid to say they met their spouse on a dating site. The respectable way to meet a life partner is by dumb luck, by bumping into them randomly or being introduced to them from within your little pool.
It makes no sense—the former is one step away from a happy marriage, while the latter must either settle for permanent unhappiness or endure a messy divorce just to catch up to where the single person is. For a woman who wants to have biological children with her husband, she has one very real limitation in play, which is the need to pick the right life partner by forty, give or take. This is just a shitty fact and makes an already hard process one notch more stressful. A frenzy of big decisions for bad reasons and a lot of people messing up the most important decision of their life.
Fear is one of the worst possible decision-makers when it comes to picking the right life partner. Unfortunately, the way society is set up, fear starts infecting all kinds of otherwise-rational people, sometimes as early as the mid-twenties. The types of fear our society and parents, and friends inflict upon us—fear of being the last single friend, fear of being an older parent, sometimes just fear of being judged or talked about—are the types that lead us to settle for a not-so-great partnership.
Externally-Influenced Ed lets other people play way too big a part in the life partner decision. The choosing of a life partner is deeply personal, enormously complicated, different for everyone, and almost impossible to understand from the outside, no matter how well you know someone. Shallow Sharon is more concerned with the on-paper description of her life partner than the inner personality beneath it. There are a bunch of boxes that she needs to have checked—things like his height, job prestige, wealth-level, accomplishments, or maybe a novelty item like being foreign or having a specific talent.
This person cannot handle sacrifice or compromise. This person inevitably ends up with at best a super easy-going person, and at worst, a pushover with a self-esteem issue, and sacrifices a chance to be part of a team of equals, almost certainly limiting the potential quality of her marriage.
He wants a life partner who serves as both his therapist and biggest admirer, but is mostly uninterested in returning either favor. The issue for him is that by being incapable of tearing himself away from his personal world, he ends up with a sidekick as his life partner, which makes for a pretty boring 50 years.
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Published August 11, Last updated on September 1, This article is more than 2 years old. To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this:. me up. Update your browser for the best experience.Looking for first man couple
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