OfficialUCDavis291 karma2021-02-11 23:25:19 UTC
Hi u/juswundern -
Most people feel their relationships the way they do other attachment bonds, and the breaking of bonds is especially hard. By knowing that relationship endings can be so painful, we’re often willing to work harder to maintain them - so the pain of a breakup may have a preemptive motivational function in this way.
The cut contact vs. remain friends question is a classic, and I can’t say I know of any strong research making this comparison well. My guess is that there are quite a few contextual and mitigating factors here, such as how challenging it is to cleanly separate your social networks and how painful it eventually is to see the person with someone else. I do know of work, though, suggesting that sleeping with an ex is NOT the way to get over a breakup - that tends to prolong the process, especially if the sleeping is casual or accidental or not well thought through.
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OfficialUCDavis171 karma2021-02-11 23:03:04 UTC
This certainly CAN happen - there are not many relationships that start with this level of certainty, but some could. When we ask people to retrospect about the history of their existing long-term relationships, a modest percentage of them will say they were at the top of the scale from moment #1. But to really test this idea, I’d want to compare your friends’ predictions with other, similar predictions that they made about other men to really get a sense of whether they were accurate. After all, if you predict that you’ll form a relationship (or marry) every potential partner you meet, you’ll eventually be “accurate”!
OfficialUCDavis162 karma2021-02-11 22:58:59 UTC
Hi Brynn! It’s a really good question, and I’m willing to bet that there are no good data out there to address it in the right way (very few studies follow people over multiple relationships, much less the FIRST relationship that someone had). I will say there are some researchers who think that age is related to worsening relationships - that older people are just generally more miserable in their relationships - and this would be consistent with what you’re suggesting. That being said, I think this idea is probably an artifact of the fact that people generally decrease in their romantic satisfaction over time over the course of one relationship, so it’s really a relationship length effect and not an age effect.
As to your key question, though: I think it’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that people are really good at reimagining the past so that they are happy in the present. So when they think back to past relationships, they remember all the parts that were worse than their current relationship - they forget about the partners that were better than the current relationship. And this is adaptive for staying happy! So I’d be willing to bet that most people can remember the high of their first love, but they also think “oh, but he/she was so immature!” or other rationalizations that keep people going in subsequent relationship attempts.
OfficialUCDavis97 karma2021-02-11 22:51:52 UTC
Hi u/rosyjellybean - When internet connectivity was less sophisticated ~10+ years ago, I would have said that it’s tricky because it is a common experience that an initial face-to-face impression of a person can be quite different from the impression that you got over email/through IM/through photos. But as we’ve all experienced over the last year, there are so many ways of feeling connected to another person online now that I would be willing to bet that the difference between an online (e.g., Zoom) impression and a face-to-face impression is much smaller than it once was. It probably isn’t “no difference” of course, and so it’s probably still true that most people will want to meet face-to-face not just for the physical intimacy but also to “be sure” that this relationship feels in person like it does online. But this need to meet face-to-face quickly is probably less pressing than it used to be.
OfficialUCDavis83 karma2021-02-11 22:17:20 UTC
Hi u/IndyPoker979 -
It is a very popular idea that there are “different kinds” of partners, with alpha vs. beta being a recent incarnation of the idea. For example, in the evolutionary psychological literature, there is the distinction between men with “good genes” vs. men who are “good dads” (i.e., dad vs. cad), which is very similar to the alpha vs. beta idea. There is also a general tendency among people to think about others in terms of “types” (e.g., Astrology signs).
The trouble is, almost no individual differences actually work this way. There is very little evidence for types on pretty much anything, even including clinical/psychological disorders which were ALWAYS assumed to reflect types and other categorical distinctions. What this means vis a vis alpha and beta is that, even though there might be a continuum of dominance out there, and it might matter in settings where people are initially meeting each other, there is remarkably little evidence that some men are the “investing” kinds of partners and other men are the “good for sex” kinds of partners.
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