Conversation As a Predictor of Relationship Success

May 17, 2017
Real Simple magazine has a good article this month about the 8 Habits of Happily Married Couples, with classic quotes illustrating the main points. My favorite is one that is often overlooked when discussing how to make relationships work:
How good is the conversation?

 

“Marriage as a long conversation.—When entering into a marriage one ought to ask oneself: do you believe you are going to enjoy talking with this woman up into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory, but most of the time you are together will be devoted to conversation.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 1878
The quality of conversation between two people is a great proxy for overall compatibility, because it will reflect each of the following specific kinds of compatibility:
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Values
  • Interests

It makes a good filter to use when dating as well – if the conversation is not “clicking” early on, you can do better. We’ve all seen couples in restaurants who seem to eat their entire meal without exchanging two words. They don’t even seem awkward – it’s clear neither one has any expectation of interesting conversation. Or perhaps neither has anything interesting to say, in which case they may be well matched. I would never want to be in a relationship like that. I’d rather eat alone and read a book.

A man who doesn’t seem very interested in conversation is a huge red flag. Some men declare that they’d never seek interesting conversation from a woman. Robert Fisher, a state senator in New Hampshire, was recently exposed as the founder of the Red Pill forum on reddit, a misogynist subreddit that blames women for every form of male difficulty. He doesn’t believe in conversing with women:

Fisher blasted women for their “sub-par intelligence.” He said that women’s personalities are “lackluster and boring, serving little purpose in day to day life.” And Fisher once commented, “It is literally the [female] body that makes enduring these things worth it.”

He’s also defended rape as a sexual strategy, a standard manosphere argument:

Fisher posited that the notion that “rape is bad” was not an absolute truth. He wrote, “I’m going to say it—Rape isn’t an absolute bad, because the rapist I think probably likes it a lot. I think he’d say it’s quite good, really.”

Fisher claims that he is very attractive, so I’m not sure why he would defend a practice he presumably wouldn’t require to get the sex he considers his right. You be the judge: Misogynist state senator

Blech! Thankfully, Fisher is currently facing expulsion from office.

Years ago there was a male reader here who repeatedly stated that at the end of a long day, the last thing he wanted was conversation from his fiancée. He described spending their evenings in separate rooms – he complained online for hours while she watched reality TV. I recently received an email reporting that she is divorcing him. Shocker.

Whether a man has nothing interesting to say, or believes that you have nothing interesting to say, a lack of curiosity leading to interesting conversation should be a dealbreaker.

I once discovered that a sexy “brooding loner” was actually just a bore. He wasn’t complicated and mysterious, he was just blah. He was only interesting in my fantasy of him. Conversation is perhaps the best indicator of chemistry – far more reliable that physical attraction. Instead of judging a man by his looks, evaluate his ability to communicate.