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Let’s take a look at some of the common types of people who fall victim to all of this and end up in unhappy relationships: Overly Romantic Ronald’s downfall is believing that love is enough reason on its own to marry someone.Romance can be a great part of a relationship, and love is a key ingredient in a happy marriage, but without a bunch of other important things, it’s simply not enough.This is just a shitty fact and makes an already hard process one notch more stressful.Still, if it were me, I’d rather adopt children with the right life partner than have biological children with the wrong one.Our brains can usually override this process if we’re just not that into someone, but for all those middle ground cases where the right move is probably to move on and find something better, we often succumb to the chemical roller coaster and end up getting engaged.For a woman who wants to have biological children with her husband, she has one very real limitation in play, which is the need to pick the right life partner by forty, give or take.The overly romantic person repeatedly ignores the little voice that tries to speak up when he and his girlfriend are fighting constantly or when he seems to feel much worse about himself these days than he used to before the relationship, shutting the voice down with thoughts like “Everything happens for a reason and the way we met couldn’t have just been coincidence” and “I’m totally in love with her, and that’s all that matters”—once an overly romantic person believes he’s found his soul mate, he stops questioning things, and he’ll hang onto that belief all the way through his 50 years of unhappy marriage.Fear is one of the worst possible decision-makers when it comes to picking the right life partner.
The rule should be “whatever you do, don’t marry the wrong person,” but society frowns much more upon a 37-year-old single person than it does an unhappily married 37-year-old with two children.
A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, “1) Find a great relationship.” People in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, are threeleaps away, with a to-do list of “1) Go through a soul-crushing break-up. 3) Find a great relationship.” Not as bad when you look at it that way, right?
All the research on how vastly happiness varies between happy and unhappy marriages makes perfect sense, of course. Thinking about how overwhelmingly important it is to pick the right life partner is like thinking about how huge the universe really is or how terrifying death really is—it’s too intense to internalize the reality of it, so we just don’t think about it that hard and remain in slight denial about the magnitude of the situation. If you live a long life, that’s about the number of years you’re going to spend with your current or future life partner, give or take a few.
The respectable way to meet a life partner is by dumb luck, by bumping into them randomly or being introduced to them from within your little pool.
Fortunately, this stigma is diminishing with time, but that it’s there at all is a reflection of how illogical the socially accepted dating rulebook is.