Don’t bother looking outside your relationship for the perfect partner, because they don’t exsist
After you’ve been with the same person for a while, you know everything about them. And while that can be great, like how you know they’ll always let you eat their bacon, because they’re a weirdo who doesn’t like it, it also gives them plenty of opportunities to annoy the ever loving fuck out of you. Sometimes you may find yourself fantasizing about life with someone else, someone who doesn’t forget to replace the garbage bag when they take the trash out.
But as behavioral economist and TED-talker Dan Ariely explains in a new video from Google’s Modern Romance series, thinking the grass is greener elsewhere is only going to disappoint you in the long run. Everyone has their flaws. So that stranger who seems so attractive only looks that way because you don’t yet know any of his bad habits, like the way he refuses to wear a winter coat instead of a hoodie even though you live in New England or how he sneezes so loudly you swear they can hear it all the way in Canada (I love you honey).
“When you get to know somebody better, what is some of the first things you learn about them?” Ariely asks. “That they disappoint you in all kinds of ways.”
He explains how in today’s social media obsessed world, where a new relationship is only a Tinder account or Match.com sign up away, it’s easy to think about trading in the partner whose flaws you know all too well for someone new. But that perfect stranger isn’t perfect either. “If you look at somebody you don’t know very well all the little annoying habits that they have are going to be outside of scope for you, and you will just imagine that they work well,” Ariely cautions. “Only when they move in, you get to see those details.” A new partner won’t annoy you the same way your current partner does, they’ll just find new ways to piss you off.
It’s important to remember that the person you’re with may drive you nuts you, but they’re not going to hit you with any big surprises. You know them and their ways, unlike the fantasy partner who’s online profile tells you nothing real about them.”You’re in bed next to somebody and you wake up in the morning and you say, is this what I want for the rest of my life when I have other options here?” says Ariely. “All of those options look so wonderful … in online dating or Facebook people only present their positive sides. So you have this biased idea that this outside option looks so promising. And now you wake up next to somebody or you have a little fight with somebody and you think, ‘In one click I could have a date with somebody else.'”
According to Ariely, always having one eye on the lookout for a better option means you’re self-sabotaging the relationship you have in front of you already. “When we’re in a relationship but continuously with one foot out and continuously thinking about how the outside world is more tempting and more interesting, it’s actually not a good recipe for investing in a relationship,” he says. “It’s not a zero-sum game; [a relationship] gets better when you invest in it.”
In other words, everyone’s annoying in some way or another. And looking outside your current relationship for someone new isn’t going to change that.