How to Use Silence Strategically in Dating

silence in conversationSilence can be powerful, strong and authoritative. It can communicate more than a thousand words. Silence can demonstrate that you are not to be messed with. It can represent resistance, disdain, indifference or even outright rejection. It can prompt others to rethink their position. Silence can give you time to reflect. It can be a simple pause in a conversation that has not concluded. Ultimately, silence is the only way to halt a discussion you do not want to have.

In our culture we tend to demonize silence as a way of being uncooperative. We believe that it is rude to be unresponsive. Some people cannot ignore a ringing phone or knock at the door, even though these attempts to reach them are uninvited. Good manners dictate that we answer emails within 24 hours. We accuse others of screening our calls as if it is our right to connect with someone at the time of our choosing. We don’t acknowledge that a ringing bell, a beep, a knock – are all interruptions. I’ve seen this compulsion to respond taken to ridiculous lengths around texting in particular. [Read more...]


Past Relationships May Lower Marital Quality

What happens in VegasI’ll be away for a much needed vacation the the fam next week. Regular posting will resume after Labor Day. Enjoy these last days of summer!

The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia has just issued Before I Do, a report on how premarital experiences influence marital quality later. It reveals some interesting findings about previous sexual experiences and relationships.

The researchers looked at 2008 data from the Relationship Development Study, including more than 400 recently married individuals. Their conclusion:

“What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, so to speak. Our past experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex, and children, are linked to our future marital quality.”

[Read more...]


Your Future Spouse Is In Your Social Network

In their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How they Shape Our LivesChristakis and Fowler share this impressive statistic:

“Our social networks function quite efficiently as matchmaker, even when we insist we are acting out our own private destiny.”

If you know 20 people, and each of them knows 20 people, then three degrees of separation connect you to 8,000 people. And one of them is likely to be your future spouse.

One of the strongest influences on assortative mating is our propensity to surround ourselves – to several degrees of separation – with people very much like us. We hang out with people we study with, work with, and live near. Social media accounts magnify that influence, as we become loosely but officially connected to many friends of friends.

Social Networks Promote Assortative Mating

Marrying assortatively, or homogamously, is strongly preferred by individuals. According to the Chicago Sex Survey (The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, University of Chicago Press, 1994): [Read more...]


Why Egalitarian Marriages Are More Sexual

houseworkYou may recall the 2012 study Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency. It found that the married couples with the best sex lives were those who followed traditional gender roles around the house:

Female Chores:

  1. Cooking
  2. Washing dishes
  3. Cleaning the house
  4. Shopping
  5. Washing and ironing

Male Chores:

  1. Outdoor work
  2. Paying bills
  3. Auto maintenance
  4. Driving

(Driving? Since when is driving a male chore? I’m the one who put 15K miles a year on a minivan for years. I also maintained it.)

As you can see, these responsibilities portray a one-income household where the husband works around the house on weekends, and the wife is a full-blown housewife throughout.

Lori Gottlieb, a never-married marriage therapist, wrote about the study in Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? for the NYXs magazine. [Read more...]


When Should You Quit a Relationship?

winners quitIn their new book Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your BrainLevitt and Dubner bring their unconventional economic analysis to bear on some interesting problems. One of them is the question of when to throw in the towel on your relationship.

In the chapter The Upside of Quitting, they argue that quitting is underrated. We have a strong bias against giving up.

Three primary forces bias us against quitting:

[Read more...]