Why is a Lasting Relationship a Coin Toss?
There is no accurate statistic on the actual divorce rate, nor of the longevity rate for committed relationships. And even less data, other than occasional surveys, on the health and fulling nature of those relationships. But these surveys show that the odds of staying married are pretty much a coin toss, and of having a fulfilling and balanced relationship far worse. Think of your own friends and family. If they beat those odds then they are in the minority. Why is that?
We have an almost unlimited number of ways to meet people online, such as through generic sites like Match.com, eHarmony and OK Cupid. Hook-up sites like Tinder. And demographic specific sites that target specific religion, ethnicity, age and sexual preference. The list is almost endless with new apps coming out continuously. They all have some sort of physical, psychological or affinity related criteria and visuals that make it easier than ever to find someone. Or is it really easier?
We now even have a show that utilizes an accomplished and successful psychologist, sociologist, sex therapist and spiritualist to match people who never met via thorough assessments of every possible quality, characteristic and goal of couples, including filling out an FBI psychological profile. They then first meet at the alter, appropriately called Married at First Sight! Yet their success rate has not been much better, if at all. Relationships are far more complex than attributes on paper or even interviews.
If online dating sites were truly able to match most people up for the long term, that success would hurt their business since far fewer people would be in the available market. The nature of almost infinite choice leads people to more quickly jump to the next interesting or attractive person at the first sign of issues, or maybe without even trying to truly resolve any differences or missed expectations.
So how do we improve the odds and tilt them in our favor?
First of all, the compatibility of people is best defined in how we interact with each other, in the chemistry of the way we communicate and what we need. Books like “The Five Languages of Love” have been top sellers based on this understanding. But those aspects can only truly be known by interaction, not by quizzes. By actually experiencing life with a partner over a period of time. And being self-aware of what we really want and how that interaction affects us, for better or worse. We need to see trends of how that interaction affects us, both in the early infatuation phase, as well as when that honeymoon phase is over. Our relationship dynamics are also impacted as we, and our partner, evolve due to the passing of time and have life experiences such as the evolution of our jobs, family, friends, health and the affect the world around us.
There was a time when people kept daily diaries of their relationship thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams. When the distractions of life were not inundating them and they could really try and understand themselves. Where communication between people actually was a verbal and not electronic. But there are tools that now exist like the Relationship Barometer that can do that much more easily and better than a manual diary book, that can let us see trends like we do in Fitbit for health or Quicken for money.
Can a better use of technology help us where it exacerbated the problem to begin with?
I think so. But it takes some effort and a desire to take control of the direction of your relationship, and not just let it happen. To recognize and appreciate the sunny times, while noting and taking action where necessary on the stormy issues and experiences.
You’ll better understand your own relationship needs, and the dynamics behind why online dating sites are so successful in next weeks’ blog, “What Do I Really Need to Feel Fulfilled in a Love Relationship.”