To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this: And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people.
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But unlike death and the universe’s size, picking a life partner is fully in your control, so it’s critical to make yourself entirely clear on how big a deal the decision really is and to thoroughly analyze the most important factors in making it. I’m pretty sure no one over 80 reads Wait But Why, so no matter who you are, that’s a of time—and almost the entirety of the rest of your one existence.
(Sure, people get divorced, but you don’t think you will.
A recent study shows that 86% of young people assume their current or future marriage will be forever, and I doubt older people feel much differently.
So we’ll proceed under that assumption.) And when you choose a life partner, you’re choosing a lot of things, including your parenting partner and someone who will deeply influence your children, your eating companion for about 20,000 meals, your travel companion for about 100 vacations, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career therapist, and someone whose day you’ll hear about 18,000 times. So given that this is Studies have shown people to be generally bad, when single, at predicting what later turn out to be their actual relationship preferences.
This is logical, because that’s the way you proceed when you want to do something well and minimize mistakes.
But if someone went to school to learn about how to pick a life partner and take part in a healthy relationship, if they charted out a detailed plan of action to find one, and if they kept their progress organized rigorously in a spreadsheet, society says they’re A) an over-rational robot, B) way too concerned about this, and C) a huge weirdo.No, when it comes to dating, society frowns upon thinking too much about it, instead opting for things like relying on fate, going with your gut, and hoping for the best.One study found that speed daters questioned about their relationship preferences usually prove themselves wrong just minutes later with what they show to prefer in the actual event.This shouldn’t be a surprise—in life, you usually don’t get good at something until you’ve done it a bunch of times.Unfortunately, not many people have a chance to be in more than a few, if any, serious relationships before they make their big decision. And given that a person’s partnership persona and relationship needs are often quite different from the way they are as a single person, it’s hard as a single person to really know what you want or need from a relationship.If you’re running a business, conventional wisdom states that you’re a much more effective business owner if you study business in school, create well thought-out business plans, and analyze your business’s performance diligently.