A group of university researchers and experts on relationships have banded together to translate the scientific theories behind human behaviour into layman's terms
‘The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions About Dating, Marriage and Family’ offers readers the solution to 40 of the most common romantic conundrums like what makes someone hot and others not and why it is that some marry people just like their parents.
The 15 contributors from different academic institutions take turns in uncovering the secrets to familiar relationships mysteries using results from online polls and submissions from students.
Among other revelations, Benjamin Le from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Jennifer Harman from Colorado State Univeristy, discovered what makes people attractive to others frequently comes down to exposure, which is good news for those good at persistence.
“The research would say that if exposure to something is increased, even subliminally, you’ll like it more,” the Daily Mail quoted Harman as saying.
“With online matchmaking sites, at first you might see profiles that aren’t attractive, but the more you see them, they may not seem so bad.
“Some sites capitalize on that, where a member can pay more to have their photos featured daily,” she said.
On a more serious note, the psychologists tackled the complexity behind the idea of dating someone that is similar to a parent and cited the frequent study of the type of attachments a parent makes to their child as a determining factor in the outcome of their romantic preferences.
“If the parent was not consistently nurturing or there for the child, the child will have expectations that their partner can’t be relied upon,” Le said.
“Studies show people will choose dissatisfaction if it’s consistent with their expectations, versus things that make them change the way they see the world,” Le said.
Both of them pointed out that while often a pairing in which one person is “avoidant” and the other is “anxious” is unsatisfying, it can also be “tremendously stable” and less likely to end in divorce.
“Those relationships lasted just as long as people who were secure and healthy.
“So it depends on how you measure relationship success. Did they stay together, or are they happy?” Le added.
Asked whether married couples really do lose the spark after marriage, the doctors both confirmed that they do, but went on to explain that the decline in satisfaction levels are as much to do with the change in life’s demands as the chemistry between the couple themselves.