If you wait until you're 23 to commit, you're less likely to get divorced.
A 2014 University of North Carolina at Greensboro study found that American women who cohabitate or get married at age 18 have a 60% divorce rate, but women who wait until 23 to make either of those commitments have a divorce rate around 30%.
"The longer couples waited to make that first serious commitment [cohabitation or marriage], the better their cha
According to a 2005 study by the University of Pavia in Italy, it lasts about a year. After that, levels of a chemical called "nerve growth factor," which is associated with intense romantic feelings, start to fall.
Helen Fisher, a psychologist and relationship expert, told Business Insider that it's unclear when exactly the "in love" feeling starts to fade, but it does so "for good evolutionary reasons," she said, because "it's very metabolically expensive to spend an awful lot of time just focusing on just one person in that high-anxiety state."
Two people can be compatible — or incompatible — on multiple levels.
Back in the 1950s and '60s, Canadian psychologist Eric Berne introduced a three-tiered model for understanding a person's identity. He found that each of us have three "ego states" operating at once:
• The child: Do you have fun together? Can you be spontaneous? Do you think your partner's hot? Do you like to travel together?
A 2014 National Bureau of Economic Research study found that marriage does indeed lead to increased well-being, mainly thanks to friendship.
Controlling for premarital happiness, the study concluded that marriage leads to increased well-being — and it does so much more for those who have a close friendship with their spouses. Friendship, the paper found, is a key mechanism that could help explain the causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction.
The closer a couple are in age, the less likely they are to get divorced.
A study of 3,000 Americans who had ever been married found that age discrepancies correlate with friction in marriages.
The Atlantic's Megan Garber reports:
In multiple studies, couples that actively celebrated good news (rather than actively or passively dismissed it) have had a higher rate of relationship well-being.
For example, say a wife comes home to her partner and shares an accomplishment. An "active-constructive" response would be the best, according to Amie Gordon, a social psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley:
• An active-constructive response from the partner would be enthusiastic support: "That's great, honey! I knew you could do it. You've been working so hard."
• A passive-constructive response would be understated support: a warm smile and a simple "that's good news."
• An active-destructive response would be a statement that demeaned the event: "Does this mean you are going to be gone working even longer hours now? Are you sure you can handle it?"
• Finally, a passive-destructive response would virtually ignore the good news: "Oh, really? Well, you won't believe what happened to me on the drive home today!"
Resentment builds quickly in couples who don't tackle chores together.
Over 60% of Americans in one poll said that taking care of chores plays a crucial role in having a successful marriage.
"It's Not You, It's the Dishes" coauthor Paula Szuchman recommends a system where each person specializes in the chores they're best at.
"If you really are better at the dishes than remembering to call the in-laws, then that should be your job," she writes. "It'll take you less time than it'll take him, and it'll take him less time to have a quick chat with mom than it would take you, which means in the end, you've saved quite a bit of collective time."
Northwestern psychologist Eli Finkel has found that marriage in America has gone through through three stages:
Before 1850, couples got hitched for the sake of food, shelter, and protection. Then with the Industrial Revolution people had more leisure time, Finkel says, so we started looking for companionship in our partners. The '60s brought a yearning for personal fulfillment through relationships, which we continue to strive for today.
You'll never get to know your partner perfectly.
After dating someone for a couple of years, you might feel like you know everything about them: what kind of toothpaste they use, which TV series they guiltily binge-watch, which foods nauseate them.
But you probably don't know them quite as well as you think you do.
According to a 1997 study, couples who had been together longer expressed more confidence in how well they knew each other. But as it turns out, relationship length wasn't related to accuracy.
A 2009 study led by researchers at the University of Denver found that most couples moved in for other reasons besides test-driving their relationship before marriage.
But couples who did report testing the relationship were more likely to experience a number of negative emotions. For example, among testers, men scored higher on measures of depression and anxiety, and women scored higher on measures of abandonment anxiety. Both groups were less confident in the relationship.
In a recent Psychology Today column, one of the study's authors explains what these findings might mean:
"It seems to us that many people who think about testing their relationship by cohabiting already know, on some level, what the grade of that test may be; they are hoping that the answer looks better over time."
If you're economically dependent on your spouse, you're more likely to cheat on them.
Contrary to popular belief, cheating isn't necessarily more common among high-earning couples. The link between income and infidelity is more nuanced than that.
Recent research from the University of Connecticut suggests that a person who is economically dependent on their spouse is more likely to be unfaithful — and that's especially true for a man who relies financially on a woman.
A 2015 University of Calgary study found that heterosexual undergrads think the average member of the opposite sex has about a 40% chance of cheating on their partner. But those same participants said their own partner had only a 5% chance of cheating.
Couples who appreciate each other are more likely to stay together.
As Business Insider's Erin Brodwin reported, gratitude may be a key to lasting relationships.
In one University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study, researchers had participants keep private daily diaries in which they recorded things their partner had done for them and how it had made them feel. As it turns out, couples who were more grateful toward each other felt that the relationship was stronger.
Meanwhile, another series of studies, led by a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, found that more grateful couples were more likely to still be together nine months later.
Once you start living together, you may realize that you have different priorities and tolerances — like, for instance, what does or doesn't constitute a mess.
"People have to come to terms with the reality that 'we really are different people,'" says Ellyn Bader, a couples therapist. "'You are different from who I thought you were or wanted you to be. We have different ideas, different feelings, different interests.'"
When it comes to sex, quality is more important than quantity.
Business Insider's Jessica Orwig reported on a fascinating Carnegie Mellon study on the link between how often you have sex with your partner and how happy you are.
Researchers split a bunch of heterosexual, married couples into two groups: For 90 days, half continued with their normal sex schedule and half had sex twice as often. When the researchers measured how each group felt at the end of the experiment, the group that had doubled their sex frequency was in fact slightly less happy.
As the lead researcher behind the study told The New York Times, if you want to be happy, focus on quality over quantity.
'So I flipped over a stack of their stinking breadsticks'
"I flipped over a tray of breadsticks on a crowded line in a pizza restaurant during their Friday rush hour. I was told repeatedly to clean the breadstick trays, but they rebuked me in a way entirely incommensurate with my errors. So I flipped over a stack of their stinking breadsticks, removed my gloves, extended both middle fingers, and went home." — Alexander, New York
'I won it'
'The day I quit was an interesting one'
"I was working at [a sandwich chain] in the food court of our local mall. I was 16 years old with a great work ethic, and I didn't really have anything to lose. My manager started taking advantage of the position by placing all of his duties on me as he walked around the mall socializing for the majority of his shift.
"The day I quit, we were pretty busy. When we finally slowed down that day, I decided to take a break around two hours into my shift. I talked to a friend at the counter. My manager had finally arrived back from doing who knows what.
"He asked about how things were going and about the food prep. I told him we were getting on it soon and that we'd been busy. He then ordered me to cut some onions. Seeing the expression on my face, a newly hired employee jumped in and offered to do this. As she went to the back, I decided to continue the conversation with my classmate at the counter. A minute later, my manager made the same request — this time with more emphasis: 'Didn't I say to cut onions?'
"My aggravated response was, 'Didn't you hear the trainee say she'd do it?' The last thing I remember was his exact response: 'Boy, don't play with me.'
'They acted angry that they had to pay me'
"I was 19 years old and got my first job as a waitress. No one showed me how to use the coffee machine or mix drinks for customers. I was left on my own. Customers actually helped me to get a hang of it.
"After one month, I was supposed to get my first paycheck. They gave me only half of the money and said that they needed the rest for paying their other bills. They even smirked about me for asking for the money they promised me.
"The next day, I had a good shift. I finished it up, counted out the money that they owed me from the register, gave the boss what was left, and said that I wouldn't be coming in ever again.
'I slept with his daughter'
'I couldn't get a word in edgewise'
"I told off the owner of the business in front of all the vice presidents and the most important customer — in a classy way.
"Backstory: The owner (let's call him Joe) had inherited the business from his much-loved father and mistreated the still loyal and highly capable work force. A big job was coming up for a personal friend of Joe's, so a top installer and I worked 12-hour days in the field for several days beforehand to complete an existing order.
"At six in the morning on the big day, Joe shows up in the alley behind the big job and starts tearing into me. I simply listened to Joe as he carried on and on, as I couldn't get a word in edgewise.
"Nobody deserved to be treated with the lack of respect that Joe had for all of his employees. After that, I walked around to the main entrance, where I found Joe, the customer, and three vice presidents shooting the breeze. I told Joe that I needed to talk to him.
"He said that it wasn't a good time. I said it was as good a time as it had been out back 10 minutes ago. Then I calmly told Joe that it was inappropriate to dump on any employee like that, and it was especially terrible to treat his loyal employees that way, as was his habit.
'Threatened to hit him with sledgehammer'
"This concrete business owner and I argued over my salary for one full year. Every time he spoke, he reduced what my raise was to be. He suckered me in to working for him for an entire year, always promising to raise my salary. Eventually I walked up to him and threatened to hit him with sledgehammer as he sat in his car. Then I quit." — Anonymous, Illinois
'I texted my boss'
'I told them I was irreplaceable'
"The global housing crash was in full swing in 2009. I was 'back-channeled out' of a leadership role that was promised to me. 'A nice guy' who was also on track to be promoted to managing director needed a new key account to justify his promotion. This was the last straw in a string of things I had tolerated as we 'managed costs throughout the difficult economic time.' No more.
"I walked in on the weekly managing director leadership meeting, flying in from a project site in the Midwest. I told almost all of them that I knew they betrayed me. I told them I was irreplaceable (at that very critical point in time, also true).
"I reminded them that I had accepted salary reductions while they continued to give themselves increases. I reminded them that they had to teach their rookie favorite (who was also in the room at that point) how to sell and keep his foot out of his mouth at client sites. I reminded them that I never received a rating below a one (which is the highest you can get) ever in my mid-year or annual review in 12 years I'd been with the firm.
"Then I proceeded to let them know that they were a 'dozen bridges I want to burn to the ground then pulverize into nothingness' because I will never tolerate that kind of betrayal after being so loyal to them and the logo. I was out of the company about two weeks later with no job in the middle of the housing crash, and it felt great.
'During the holiday party, she didn't want me to sit with my subordinates'
"I walked into my boss's office for what was supposed to be our one-on-one session. Instead, I handed in my resignation and walked out.
"There was too much favoritism and micromanaging going on. During the holiday party, my boss didn't want me to sit with my subordinates. I knew I was not happy with the company culture. So I decided to quit.
"My boss called after me, saying that if I didn't give a two-weeks notice, I couldn't be rehired by the company. This was fine by me.
'I patiently waited for the payday'
"I was not paid on time and then repeatedly insulted over something that was no fault of mine. So I patiently waited for the payday — on that day, I took the money and picked my bag up, hugged my friends, and just left the office! Later, I drafted a very nasty email to the boss and CC'ed everyone in that organization. I called it 'QUIT.'" — Arnobi De
'I looked him dead in the eye'
"I was working in a pub and was being bullied by one of the chefs. During one tough weekend, the pub landlord went away and said chef reduced me to tears.
"My Monday shift rolled round. I was due to be in the kitchen waitressing, but my bully was covering a shift that particular day. I asked a friend at the bar if she would switch with me just so I could let the events of the weekend settle down. She agreed.
"I went in for what was now my bar shift. About 30 minutes into my shift, the landlord came down and asked why I was on the bar. I explained what had happened over the weekend and told him that my friend and I had switched for this one shift to let things settle down.
"Normally this would not be an issue. People swapped shifts all the time. For some reason, the landlord got a bee in his bonnet about it and started having a go at me. In the end, he told me to get in the kitchen and do my normal shift or go home.
'It was a nightmare'
"I just packed my things, left the office with tears streaming down my face, and never returned again. I had only been working there for a week, but it was a nightmare.
"It was a small startup with only five or six employees, but the boss was forcing us all to work overtime every single day, without pay.
"I would start work at 8:30 a.m. and not finish until late in the evening. He was very passive aggressive and didn't provide any training whatsoever.
"The whole thing was just a mess, and he was threatening to find other people if we didn't work overtime for free. After one particularly unpleasant conversation where he made me cry, I just packed my stuff together and left. Luckily I found a nice job right after, where I still work today!" — Anonymous
'He was jumping around, screaming'
"I quit during a company training session. The trainer had no idea what we were actually doing. He was jumping around, screaming and treating 30- and 40-year-old people like they were still in kindergarten. It was my first company training and the last one. After that, I went straight to HR and resigned the same day. No more." — Anonymous
'I told her that it was her fault that I was quitting'
"I worked at a small veterinary hospital and the head vet, who happened to own the practice as well, made my life a living hell.
"She would tell blonde jokes to clients as I assisted her with the animals in the exam room. (I happen to have blonde hair.) She would make me take daily 'tests' to prove my knowledge of animal medicine.
"One day, I burst in to her office and told her that nothing was ever going to make her happy and that up until then I had never in my life been made to feel so low and useless at a job.
'I quit during one of the busiest times in finance'
'I quit after my boss attempted to hit me over the back of my head with a chair'
"I quit after my boss attempted to hit me over the back of my head with a chair. I had told him to 'go f--- himself.'
"Background: I worked at a hotel. My boss threatened to fire me when I called him to say I needed to leave the office and he needed to come in because my grandfather was sick. While I sat and waited for five hours for him to arrive, he was off having a nice round of golf with his buddies.
'I ripped out a chunk of a marketing poster'
"My favorite job while I was in college was working at a local nutrition store. It had great hours, solid commissions, and a truly receptive client base. My boss, though, was the worst. She couldn't think more than a few steps in advance, often coming in on her off days to complete tasks she couldn't finish and to micromanage how we sold products.
"One day, she came in when we had about 15 people in the store. (It was a tiny store.) Before she showed up, I was the only one helping everyone. Instead of helping, or even enlightening our customers that she was off the clock and that couldn't ring anyone up, she decided to ignore everyone.
"What could have been a top sales day for the region instead turned into an average day. After confronting my manager about this, because I was truly upset, she proceeded to tell me that I was wrong, and that customers knew she was off the clock.
"She even went as far as to say, 'Oh I know those guys, they never buy! They always browse!' I lost it.
"I ripped out a chunk of a marketing poster we had hanging up behind the counter, proceeded to write a letter of resignation on the back, and walked out of the store.
'The owner refused to pay me'
"I was working as a contractor for a startup tech company in Boston. After I finished designing a website, the owner refused to pay me. His reasons? The cost was 'too high' and I had done 'work he didn't ask for.'
"Through some legal bull----, he tricked me into signing a termination contract that gave him the rights and would technically force him to pay all of the money owed, but — through a loophole — he wouldn't have to do it for nearly two months.
"I was super pissed at this point because now he had the files I made, was developing off of them, and I had to wait another two months to get paid. That sucks when you're a young designer living in an expensive city and you're already extremely undercharging for work.
"So I had a friend help me write an AppleScript that used iMessenger to send one message per second, as well as bypass the blocking on the phone by spoofing the iMessage account.
"If you run the program for a certain length of time and send large enough files, eventually it will cause the phones cache to overload and shut it down.
'Not my best moment'
"I was in a meeting with my boss and a coworker. The coworker blamed me for sending a love note to her husband. She was quite upset and positive I sent the love card to her husband in the mail.
"I had only been at this job a year. It was a very stressful experience because of this one employee that told everyone I was 'hitting' on her husband. So in this meeting, the boss let me know that she could fire me over this issue. So I did not say a word at all during the whole entire meeting.
"Then, after I asked if they were done, I stood up, slammed my chair and the door, and quietly said 'I quit.'
"I went to my cubicle to get my things and then walked toward the door. My boss pushed me aside and tried to stop me for my badge. I threw my badge to the floor and, raising my voice, said, 'Get your hands off of me and let me leave,' then I went home.
'I confronted him'
"I was delivering pizza on the side. (I also had a full time job.) On weekends, I worked on call, meaning I sat at home, pretty much doing nothing all day, waiting to get a text or call for a delivery.
"This one Saturday, I got none. No big deal — it happens. When I went in to finish my shift during the dinner rush (not on call) I realized that there had actually been eight deliveries. Instead of texting me, the manager left the store with only one employee and delivered everything himself. (He was even out on delivery just then, when I arrived.)
"So he basically made me sit at home, waiting around for six hours, while he took all the delivery pay and all of the tips that should have been mine.
"When he came back, I confronted him, told him he stole from me and owed me all the money he made from my deliveries. I told him to go f--- himself before storming off, knowing full well that he didn't have another driver on shift that night.
'I Frisbee-threw a loading pallet'
'I got up the next day and arrived at 4 a.m.'
"I've always wanted to understand why the younger generation does not have the same loyalty to companies and organizations as we had when we were younger. I discovered the reason while working at [a popular coffee chain] — it's the management.
"The manager of the store was awesome, but the district manager was unbelievable. The day the manager of the store was fired was the day I quit. Sadly, she was fired for not being able to get her job done, but she had literally no support from the district manager.
"The district manager was gunning for her and to get rid of her. This manager was one of the best I had worked with and for. She had been a longtime employee and she loved her job.
"So the day she got fired, I got up the next day and arrived at 4 a.m. just to look the new manager in the face and say 'I quit.' Best part was that this was the busiest day in the year for the store. I told her if the manager is no longer there, then I am no longer needed. The new store manager (who was very young) said I was being childish. I replied that that was her opinion.
'I then left the convention floor'
"As a marketing director at a national trade show in New Orleans, I fired an incompetent marketing associate back in the Chicago office who had cost my budget $20,000 at the show and lied about it.
"My supervisor thought I was wrong and said all I wanted to do was embarrass her. I said, 'If you feel that way, then you have my immediate resignation, and I'll clean out my office when I return.'
'I told my boss he was a real piece of work'
"My former employer moved my job to another city. They knew full well they had absolutely no grounds to fire me, but, as a recently single father starting over, they also knew that I could not move.
"They were offering me a 'generous severance package.' So I told my boss he was a real piece of work, to which he responded, 'I am?'
'I told him that he was a short, fat, balding, loser'
"Luckily I was able to get the theatrics out of my system before I started my professional career. I was young and working as a bartender at a resort in Montauk, New York (a small summer beach town in the Hamptons, for those unfamiliar).
"The resort was beautiful — multiple pools, spas, restaurants, dock slips (it was on the harbor) — so it attracted a very interesting and affluent crowd. Unfortunately, I got stuck working the indoor bar every night from noon to close (roughly 4:30 a.m.) that got very little traffic (so no tips).
"I was living for a short time in what could best be described as tenement-style housing provided by the resort at the cost of a monthly $700 deduction from my paycheck. I was essentially netting around $100 a month, which is not sustainable for living in the Hamptons for a summer.
"On top of all this, management was terrible. I was the only bartender at the indoor bar. Instead of hiring more staff, my manager decided to take it all out on me, calling me inept, an idiot, yada, yada, yada. Nothing constructive and nothing done to improve the situation.
"Luckily, my friend moved out for the summer and let me live with him at his family's beach house. Once the arrangements were made, I quickly found a better-paying bartender gig with better hours and better management.
"I told the general manager that I was quitting and explained why. Things ended amicably. I was saying goodbye to the other workers when I ran into the indoor bar manager. I was greeted swiftly with a 'why the f--- are you not working?' to which I responded that I was quitting. Then he said, 'Well then, get the f--- out of my bar.'
"I realized that this guy had zero influence on my career prospects anymore, present or future. So I told him that he was a short, fat, balding, loser, that he could go f--- himself, and that his bar and menu were terrible (this is in front of multiple staff and guests, mind you).
"I turned around and said goodbye to a few more friends and actually got some applause from some of the guests.
"It gets even better. About a week later, this guy got fired. The resort felt so bad about my mistreatment that, despite me quitting, they gave me a comped weekend stay at one of their suites (which I gave to my mom and her friends to use for her birthday in July).