Gary Lewandowski, Monmouth University – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dr Gary Lewandowski featured in The Princeton Review, The Best 300 Professors

Dr Gary Lewandowski featured in The Princeton Review, The Best 300 Professors

How do you know if your partner is the one?

Gary Lewandowski, professor and department chair of psychology at Monmouth University, explores the science behind this question.

Dr. Lewandowski’s research focuses on self and intimate relationships. He has published over 20 journal articles, over a dozen book chapters, received 12 grants, and given over 80 conference presentations (the vast majority of these endeavors involve students as coauthors).  Dr. Lewandowski currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and is a co-editor/co-creator of www.ScienceOfRelationships.com.  Dr. Lewandowski’s work and expertise has been featured in a number of media outlets and his teaching was recognized in the Princeton Review’s book, The Best 300 Professors.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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Is my partner “the one” I should spend the rest of my life with? Simple question. Hard answer. But getting it right is important.

Relationships are one of the most influential sources of happiness in your life.  Being in any relationship can seem better than being alone. A variety of factors — inertia, fear of being single, or low expectations may lead you to settle for the relationship you have, instead of the relationship you deserve.

Figuring it all out is daunting, but thankfully, science can help you make better decisions. 

Consider how you might respond to the following: If I weren’t dating my partner, I would find another appealing person to date. If you agree, researchers would say you have high perceived quality of alternatives, meaning that you think your next partner would be as good, or better, than your current one.  Ideally, you wouldn’t even notice potentially greener grass because you’re with someone whom you think is the best for you.

A good relationship helps you become a better person, a process researchers call self-expansion. Not only does this make you feel like a better, more capable person, it enhances relationship quality too. If your relationship falls short, look for opportunities to do new and interesting things together. Have a date night, go somewhere new. But if your partner is not helping build a better you, it may be time for a better partner.

What’s in your relationship’s future?  It depends on who you ask, and you may not be the best judge. Research indicates that you’re the most confident in your prediction, but your friends and family are more accurate.  If the people around you raise doubts about your relationship, the research shows there is a good reason to listen.

While many of us get driver’s education in high school, we don’t get “relationships ed.” But learning what science has discovered helps us make better decisions about whether to stay or go.  

 

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