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Truths about relationships

Truths about relationships

It’s easy to believe that your relationship is different from everyone else’s. It’s probably not.

Relationships take effort to maintain, and you won’t always be happy with your partner.

Even if you love each other, if you have fundamentally different values, a breakup may be the best option.

Everyone knows relationships are hard, and take effort to maintain, and sometimes disappoint you.

Except, of course, your relationship. That’s different. Or so everyone likes to believe.

Below, we’ve listed some of the truest but hardest-to-accept insights about modern romance. If you can get past these somewhat unsettling ideas, you’ll be more likely to have a happy and fulfilling partnership.

We’re often attracted to people who will later drive us crazy

While researching habits and personality for her book “The Four Tendencies,” Gretchen Rubin noticed a curious phenomenon. People she’d labelled “rebels” often paired up romantically with people she’d labelled “obligers.”

Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations; if you ask a rebel to do something, they’ll likely resist. Obligers meet outer expectations but don’t always meet inner ones; they usually need some form of external accountability.

Rubin said, “If you’re an upholder, you live life according to a schedule. [For example] you never miss your daily run, and you always eat fewer than 30 grams of carbs a day, and you always go to bed by 11. It could be exciting be swept off your feet by somebody who feels very free and not confined.”

But over time, the novelty may wear off and these two different approaches can come into conflict. To be sure, rebels and obligers — and any two types of people — can be happy together. But it’s worth keeping this pattern in mind.

There’s probably no such thing as ‘the one’.

Out of the thousands of eligible singles just waiting for a swipe right, how do you know who’s the right one for you?

Trick question: There isn’t a right one.

That’s according to Esther Perel, who is a couples’ therapist as well as the author of “Mating in Captivity” and “The State of Affairs.” Perel noted: “There is a one that you choose and with whom you decide that you want to build something. But in my opinion, there could also have been others — you just chose this one.”

Once you’ve chosen someone, you work to make that person a better fit.

You may be less likely to break up with your partner if you have a pet or a joint bank account. Psychologists call them “material constraints”: Think a house you co-own, a joint bank account, or a pet you both take care of.

Research suggests that material constraints make a breakup a lot less likely. In fact, according to a 2011 study of unmarried men and women in heterosexual relationships, adding just one additional material constraint is linked to a 10% increase in a couple’s chances of staying together.

Presumably, that’s because it’s harder to disentangle yourself from the relationship when it’s not just the two of you. So it’s wise — if slightly uncomfortable — to think in advance about what you’d do if the relationship dissolved.

Poor timing can be a reason to break up — even if you love each other

In “The Love Gap,” journalist Jenna Birch explains why timing is all-important in a relationship. Specifically, Birch argues that many men and women may be on different timelines: While men want to feel established professionally and financially before settling down, women can work on love and their career at the same time.

Birch urges women to take men seriously when they say they’re “not ready” for a serious relationship right now. That may mean moving on to someone else who does feel ready, instead of wasting your time hanging around.

People probably aren’t as open to interracial dating as they say they are

Available data from OKCupid, described in a 2014 blog post, suggests that people’s attitudes and behavior around interracial dating can differ, drastically.

OKCupid found that, among its users, the number of people who said they strongly preferred to date someone of their own race dropped from roughly 40% to roughly 30% between 2008 and 2014.

But as OKCupid founder Christian Rudder wrote, in that same time frame, “OKCupid users are certainly no more open-minded than they used to be. If anything, racial bias has intensified a bit.”

Consider: In 2009, Asian men on OKCupid rated black women, on average, 16% less attractive than the average woman. In 2014, Asian men rated black women 20% less attractive.

Rachel Sussman, a relationship expert and marriage counsellor says the decline of passion in a relationship is perfectly normal — and that you can lure it back.

One strategy is to schedule sex; another is to try a new and exciting activity together. Above all, try to be patient while you work on things.

It can be hard to make a relationship work if you and your partner have different values

Values are different from interests. If you like going to football games and your partner doesn’t, you can probably find a friend to go with you instead.

But if you’re interested in earning more money and status and your partner doesn’t care, that could be a problem.