Theories are posited by several cited in the piece with a statement that “Psychologists who study relationships say that three ingredients determine the strength of commitment: overall satisfaction with the relationship; the investment one has put into it (time and effort, shared experiences, emotions, etc.); and the quality of perceived alternatives.”
Aye, there’s the rub: perceived alternatives.
At one time the dating/marriage/relationship pool was fairly limited: church, work, local community. It was further limited by the personality of the person seeking a new relationship (introvert, extrovert, or something in between) and the disposable time and income available to pursue a partner.
And when folks, married or single, turn on the television, they see images of couples on the beach or simply on a sofa in an apartment looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and touting that without the services of a dating site, they would never have found the love of their life.
Those dating sites are advertised for clients over fifty, Christians, gays, single parents and even persons with herpes. All promise to match those who travel to them with a person whose profile matches theirs in terms of the factors important to them which they identify when they registered.
Available 24/7, time ceases to be a factor and according to what the seeker needs (kinky talk fests, solace, advice), distance is not even a factor. Registrants can present their alter ego or pretend to be something they are not in terms of age, weight, occupation and interests.
In a society which values consumption, as does ours, we seek the latest gadget, the next thing — even a person — who will make us feel more worthy. The hope is that we will eventually enter some magic kingdom where there are no cares and all is beautiful, easy, with our preferred music playing in the background.
Some are in relationships that just aren’t working for a host of reasons. It’s important to determine if this is situational, if with work or time, the relationship will improve.
We can never go back to where we were and lament the passing of times past when many couples stayed together regardless of their emotional changes or finding that another partner was more desirable.
When many of us married, we expected it to be for life, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others. We knew the script: we’d seen it on television, in movies.
Now we’re watching “Divorce Court” and comforting friends who are going through the emotional and financial pain of a divorce. And so many of us have done that ourselves, been the one who is dumped and needs to be comforted, We need to be told repeatedly that the sun will come up tomorrow and that we are strong enough, resilient enough, to survive.
In an ideal world, person who marry would stay married, share, and support each other with all the trials and tribulations that are a part of what it is to be human, renegotiating what needs to be discussed again as partners age, have new experiences, change jobs, or assume different roles in the parenting process.
But as partnerships dissolve, we can still hope for kindness, fairness and a belief that what lies ahead will be good, that we are not victims, that we have the power to make positive change.