Are you the kind of person who gives up on new relationships a little too early? Or do you find that you stick with a less-than-ideal guy a little too long?
Most of us tend to err on one side or the other. Which side do you lean toward?
Fair warning, though. We’re going to start by talking about a seemingly unrelated topic: Poker.
Even if you’ve never played, you’re likely familiar with the game. There are cards and people make bets. You don’t have to know any more than that. We’re going to talk about the betting.
Players take turns betting based on how strong they think their hand is . . . or based on how well they believe they can bluff. Sometimes a player will bet a lot and then have second thoughts.
They know they’re going to lose. But they stay in anyway. They even keep betting. Poker players call this being “pot committed.” It means they already have a lot of money in the pot (the total of all the bets for that round), so that they feel they can’t afford to just bail.
So they invest even more money into something that’s doomed to fail.
A recent study confirms the very same thing happens in romantic relationships. The study’s authors refer to this as the “sunk cost effect.” The more time, money or effort we put into something, the harder it is to let go.
It works the other way, too. The less you put into something, the less likely you are to stick with it.
And here’s the kicker. Putting too much OR too little into your relationship will mess with the balance of the connection you have with your guy.
Some of us stick around too long. Some of us bail too soon. Whichever situation you’re in, there’s a way to find balance so you have exactly the kind of romantic connection you’re looking for.
It all comes down to one really important concept.
If you find yourself sticking with relationships too long . . .
If you’re sticking with relationships for longer than you should, you may be giving too much too soon.
I’m not advising you to run to the other extreme. Don’t be standoffish or cagey. But don’t accommodate him constantly, either.
If you feel like you’ve lost yourself in the relationship, you’re giving too much. That will make it really hard to let go if you need to in the future.
If you find yourself bailing on relationships too soon . . .
If you’re the kind to meet a new guy, enjoy a few dates, and then freak out, you may be guarding your heart more than you should.
The trick here is to give a little bit more. When you feel panic coming on, breathe. Remember that you’re not locked into anything. It’s okay to give the relationship a little of yourself. That’s the only way you’ll know if it has the potential to be a good one.
If you’ve been burned, this can be hard. Don’t push yourself to the point that you feel exposed, but don’t wall yourself off, either.
Finding lasting romantic bliss . . .
Really, there’s a word that sums up the goal for both situations. The key to finding and maintaining happiness is the right balance.
Let me put it this way. If you don’t miss him when he’s not around, you’re not giving enough. And if you feel like you can’t go on without him, you’re giving too much.
What you want is that sweet spot in the middle. The place where you still feel strong and independent, but you feel a genuine connection, too.
If you can get to that place, you’re set up for storybook level-romance.
 Rego, Sara, Joana Arantes, and Paula Magalhães. “Is There a Sunk Cost Effect in Committed Relationships?” Current Psychology (2016): n. pag. Web.
I’m in a dating relationship with this guy. I feel like all he wants from me is sex because that is all he talks about when we’re together or when we chat. I’ve not given in to his sexual requests, and we’re always like at a tag of war. We had a 2week breakup, which I initiated but now we’re back together. Communication is not so good; he doesn’t want to make voice calls when he’s at his home, or video calls. I feel like he just want to use me for sex. What is shocking me is the way I still want to be with him. The guy is also stingy, he’s never bought even an apple for me, never spent a dime on me except for his fuel when he has to drive to my place. I need advice please sisters and brothers.
Gari, it’s always confusing and frustrating when we find our heart attached to a person we know is not going to be a good partner. This special report (free to our irresistible insider’s members) walks you through a set of mentalities and actions that can help you in this kind of situation. Help, I’m In A Relationship That Isn’t Right For Me.
I just saw a video by a psychologist last night and she talked about “intimacy avoidance syndrome.” It is related to narcissistic behaviors. The person may even use intimacy to manipulate you. They may be intimate, but it doesn’t have any depth or consistency. This describes the guy I’ve been with for two years now. Since I’ve been a widow for five years, I want companionship, but not marriage. Well, he now says he just wants to be friends. I started texting someone a friend thought I’d like, but that guy is all about sex!! How do I find a balance?
Hi – As someone who believes that things happen for a reason (am a divorced for 6 years now and have not been able to find love again) I do believe that your gut (and the man upstairs) will tell you if the person isn’t right. It may take a little while to get it, but if you don’t feel right about how things are going there is a reason. Something or someone is telling you something. Follow your instinct and your gut. I have put up with some things in relationships (my terrible marriage as well) and I learned about myself and learned what I did and didn’t want in a future partner. I am frustrated because I am 6 years into being single but am trying to let it go and trust there is a plan for me.
Just my two (or 10) cents. 🙂 Best of luck to you all.
well… what happens or WHAT do you DO when you GOT that “sweet spot” (What you want is that sweet spot in the middle. The place where you still feel strong and independent, but you feel a genuine connection, too.) ,,, and WANT more!!? more time together.. ?? or some commitment??
That means you aren’t feeling strong and independent and don’t genuinely have the sweet spot.
After 2 years being in relationship with the guy, being on and off for short periods, I finally decided to let it go and told him over the phone that can’t wait any longer for him to decide, if we are taking it to the next level. I feel relieved now. I feel I am free again and can plan my life for myself.
This passed relationship was a long journey for me and became a long distance for the second year of relationship. To me it looks like this man is not interested in the next step of our relationship and not ready to make any future plans with me. I just can’t put my life on hold and wait till something happens that he’ll make up his mind about me. At the same time I did not want to put any pressure on this man and let him live his life the way he likes, but without me, of course. Did I wait too long? I don’t know. You definitely need some time and get through several situations with this person until you see what is he capable off and if this is going to work on the long run. I want to be married again some day, and I need to find some one who is ready for it, who would be happy to spend the rest of his life with me, and not making excuses Why it’s still not a good time to make plans for the future.
I am 53 y.o. and I have a hope for my future love relationship. I am opened for love opportunities and will keep my options opened until married again.
I wish you all happiness and freedom.
Hi Svelana….I found James advise on dating again after a disastrous first marriage, a real Breathe of fresh air especially the advise not to sleep together until he was committed and to let him do the running, not chasing him up for text or calls.Holding the relationship lightly. As a christian I felt I needed to get myself sorted out emotionally first and I also prayed every day for the person (I didn’t know at the time) who would be my life partner for about 4 years.
Mercifully there wasn’t any chemistry when we first dated and we were just friends until after 4 months I just knew this was the right person and 2 weeks later he proposed!
Hi and good morning. I’m John and have joined this site to help understand dating and relationships after a fifty year break, yes I said 50 years from dating. This article, like all of the rest was very good and informative. But and it is not related to this article perhaps you could have one about learning Red Flags and how to recognize them in a relationship. Thank an you. John
This feels sad to hear that you are out from dating for 50 years! This is Very Long Period of time to be alone and not wanting to be with someone. Are you doing OK all these years! How do you handle your loneliness? Any substitutes of human relationship you found helpful?
Just want to learn it from you.