Tinder is full of wackos these days. So when you meet someone and it actually clicks, it’s natural to wonder whether the relationship is worth getting excited about. As someone who’s been happily married for six years, I can say with some authority that the key to a lasting relationship is the ability to share a bathroom (or, better yet, have separate bathrooms!), but that’s not exactly been scientifically proven.
What has been proven — or, well, proposed: the forecast model. According to a new article by appearing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Professor Edward Lemay of the University of Maryland, the forecast model suggests that our expectations for happiness in a relationship actually determine how committed we are to making that relationship last.
“People pursue relationships that are expected to bring pleasure and disengage from relationships that are expected to bring pain,” the paper reads, “and this can be seen in the effects of these expectations for the future on relationship commitment.”
Need a real-world example? Say you meet a lovely young woman, and everything is going great. Until it’s not — something’s off. Maybe you decide to move in together and you realize that she has horrendous bathroom hygiene. You just can’t stand the way she leaves her hair in the sink after she brushes it. The forecast model says that, the more hopeful you are about your future with your loose-locked lady, the more willing you’ll be to behave less destructively toward the relationship in the meantime. Less blaming, criticizing, and rejecting, and more responding constructively to negative criticism. Which, in turn, enhances the stability of the relationship.
It’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, really. Forecast looks good? You’re in it for the long haul. Forecast looks bad? Eh, what’s the point in trying?
Don’t worry, though. All your marital happiness is not wrapped up in whether you view the future with your significant other through rose-colored glasses. The forecast model goes hand-in-hand with the investment model of relationship commitment, proposed by Kelley and Thibaut in 1978. The investment model essentially says that we stay in romantic relationships as long as they meet — rather than frustrate — our myriad needs, as long as they’re more attractive than other relationships or ways of spending our time, and as long as the breakup of that relationship would mean losing valuable resources, including time, money, other relationships, etc. Is it worth it to stay in the relationship? Yes? Then you’ll probably stay in the relationship (even if it’s not totally satisfying).
So, okay. All this is a lot more complicated than my own personal bathroom courtesy theory. Whatever you choose to believe, it sounds like your relationship will probably be in good shape if you treat each other with courtesy and clean up the sink of any stray hairs.
(Via Psychology Today)