Recycling is a good idea, except when it comes to relationships.
Regardless of what people tell themselves about the time invested, the good times missed, the great sex, or the feeling that things will be different; in most cases the re-connection with an ex rarely brings a better outcome.
Research tells us that rekindling a relationship decreases happiness. Studies of college grads as well as larger national studies of older couples reveal that those people who cycle back to relationships, often over and over again, experience less satisfaction, more uncertainty and more disillusionment in their relationships than non-cycling partners.
Let’s face it – breaking up is hard to do. When it has happened there is usually a good reason on the part of one or both partners.
Why then do people look backwards? Why do they imagine it will be different?
We have for some time considered the impact of what we wear on others.
Mark Twain tells us “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Resonating with this perspective, we dress for “success.” Consciously or unconsciously, we dress to make an impression. In this culture, our goals or version of success may vary. We may dress to reflect a self that is smart, sexy, reserved, in charge, laid back or athletic; but in our choice of clothing, we work to present an image of self on the basis of color and form.
It is no coincidence, for example, that the president and presidential candidates predominately wear red ties. Those consulting on their wardrobes report that red is a color of rank and power and that the color, when researched, provokes the strongest emotional response – passion and optimism or warning and caution.
The Impact on Self
The latest research on what we wear expands this picture. It suggests that what we wear not only impacts others, it impacts us. What we wear not only impacts what we feel… it impacts how we think!!
For most people, there was something about the physical characteristics of the person they fell in love with that tripped their chemistry into response. Should that stop mattering when the wedding is over, the kids are in school or the retirement is planned? Not Really.
This is a culture that pushes looks, youth, beauty and the icons that possess theme. For those seeking a partner, there is a considerable amount of interest in what catches the attention of men when meeting women and what women find attractive in a man.
What guarantees commitment in the face of attractive alternative temptations? Nothing.
What maintains commitment in the face of attractive alternative temptations? Many things.
There is no doubt that men and women are both equally drawn to look at what would be conventionally deemed as attractive. Whether we cite evolutionary studies that suggest that physical attractiveness served as a potential sign of high genetic fitness or fertility, the fact is that because of our draw to the attractive, Hollywood has survived, tabloids live off the pictures of the beautiful people and most people notice the good looking person who walks into the office. We have what researchers call an “attentional adhesion” to attractive people — it is hard to take our eyes off them (Maner, Gailliot, Rouby& Miller, 2007).
But…there are many expected and unexpected reasons that commitment to our romantic partners wins out over attractive alternatives.