It's crazy to me the amount of scientific research being done about relationships. But in a way, it makes sense. Relationships can seem impossible to understand. It would make sense then that scientists would try and apply their skills to the mystery of how we interact.
A recent study conducted by psychologist Joshua Oltmanns, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, worked with some scientist buddies over at Villanova University and Florida State University and discovered something really unsettling about how we treat our partners.
It turns out that if we think our partner is MORE attractive than we are, we are twice as likely to engage in behaviors to make sure they don't leave us.
That makes sense, we know what we have, and we don't want to lose it. So of course we would do everything within the realm of the possible to make sure our partner knows we value them.
Now for the bad news. Apparently, if we think our partner is less attractive (you know, "meh") we are LESS likely to engage in behaviors to keep them happy.
That's right, science is implying that if we date someone we think we're hotter than, we're kind of going to be dicks about it.
When you think about it, this study just proves a lot of the old wives tales about how relationships should work right. We've ALL heard that in a relationship it's better to be the one who isn't quite as in love as our partner, that it's better to be the cool one in the dynamic.
I always thought this was hogwash, some kind of controlling weirdo's take on love, but it seems having read this study like it's something of a biological imperative.
But what do you do if you think both you and your partner are equally stunning? If that's the case do you just festoon each other with kisses and gifts and never break up?
This study seems to examine one of side what humans find attractive each other (physical appearance) but what about all those other ineffable qualities about a person that can draw us in aside from the way they look?
Over time, studies have shown that our partners become MORE attractive to us. You can't help but wonder if that' by design so that we don't treat them like shit ... or could love be a little less, well, heartless than this study indicates? I hope it's the former.
Excuse me as I go to buy my boyfriend some beautiful, beautiful flowers.