Why do we often cling to a romantic relationship even when things are going badly?

Finding the right partner can take a long time. Some spend years on it. Yet research shows that we are less selective in this area than we think.

In search of true love, you imagine who would be the ideal person. You may even have specific criteria to qualify it. However, a study highlighted by the BBC reveals that we are not that demanding in this area.

Born to find a partner?

Throughout our lives, we spend a lot of time looking for who to share it with. This big step is crucial for many people who indulge themselves with devotion in the search for a soulmate.
This person should have the same values, like to have a long lasting relationship, have a stable financial situation and maybe even have children like you.

A study on romantic relationships conducted on 5,000 Americans and dating from 2020 from the U.S. Research Center Church chairindicates it 75% of participants said it was getting harder and harder to “find someone”(1). Proof of support, many people settle down as a couple and get married later and later. They are really looking to find the right person and therefore seem to be harder in their choice.

However, a study published in July 2021 shows that we are plagued by ” progressionsbias (2). In other words, we seek to maintain a relationship once it has begun.
For Bryan Lufkin, a BBC journalist, we would be programmed to be romantic (3).

Behavior that comes from our nature

This ” progressionsbias was demonstrated by Samantha Joel and Geoff MacDonald, professors of psychology at the University of Toronto. According to the results of their study, People are less selective than they think when choosing a partner.
People actually have more choices of partners than they realize and would be willing to put up with their shortcomings. Although these people are not their ideal partner, they have the ability to become attached to it.

Once a relationship has started, it’s hard to end it – © Michael Traitov

This reaction would come from our survival instinct. In fact, we need to reproduce in order for humanity to survive. Stable relationships in particular make it possible to secure the descendants.

In our society, long relationships are admired and celebrated.

Also Read: Couples: Sleep Separately To Love Each Other Better?

Pursue a relationship no matter what

Progression bias encourages us to believe that we can change our partner to be more of what we are looking for. When we might have had to end a relationship, we stay with this person who does not quite fit us. In addition, other aspects come into play, such as the economic situation.

According to Samantha Joel, married couples are the most affected by this phenomenon. “Western culture regards marriage as the most important type of relationship, where marriage is seen as a personal achievement or indicator of maturity. There is a social status that comes with being married, and that can make people calm down, no matter who they are with at the moment, or how good that relationship may be. “, Says the professor.

love affair couple

60% of American adults believe in the ‘soulmate’ principle – © Inside Creative House

Also read: Couple therapy – When and how?

However, this behavior can also have good sides when it comes to supporting each other, despite the criteria absent of this person with whom you share your life. The researchers concluded the relationship developed to a person was actually much more important than the partner himself.

Banner illustration: One of the often mentioned reasons to stay together is children – © fizkes

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