What was it your mother always told you? About how you’re special, and how you should never settle for anything less than you deserve?
Yeah, well scientists have gone and shit all over that one, because a new study has decided that the secret to a happy, long-lasting relationship? It’s settling.
As in, settling with what you’ve got, not what you think you deserve to have. Yeah, sounds weird, doesn’t it?
What they’re getting at, is that relationships are meant to be more successful if you believe you’re with the best possible partner. Now I don’t want to pick holes in this scientific research, but what are you meant to do if secretly, you don’t believe you are with the best possible partner, but you’re just not quite ready to end it all? Are you just meant to lie to yourself and hope it’ll all work out in the end?
But apparently, it’s all to do with how valuable you see your partner as in comparison to other potentials. So if you are having doubts, maybe just go hang around outside a prison or something, and your partner will suddenly seem like an absolute adonis.
The study’s author, Daniel Conroy-Beam, explains the theory (in scientific terms):
‘Cues to mate replaceability — specifically mate value discrepancies — appear to have important and reliable effects on relationship satisfaction. The availability of partners who better fulfill one’s preferences decreases relationship satisfaction, especially for people mated to partners lower in mate value than themselves.’
Now I can’t be quite sure, because he’s speaking in science-talk, but what I think he’s getting at here is that if you think you can do better, you’ll feel crap about your relationship. Especially if – to put it in rating terms – you’re a firm 8 going out with a low 6.
And because we all use dating apps these days, with an endless world of potential mates literally at your finger tips, it’s making us all think we can do better all of the time. So maybe there IS something in this. Not settling, as such. But being happy with what you’ve got.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk