Science says a weak link in a relationship may cause the relationship to fail (duh). But what constitutes a weak link? Turns out, the weak link is the less committed partner in the relationship. New research finds that these asymmetrical relationships are pretty common and have very different outcomes based on which partner is the weak link.
For any experienced dater, it’s known that being the more committed partner in the romantic relationship is an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing position. But according to recent studies, it seems that when women more about their S.O., the relationship endures, but when women are just “meh” about the whole thing, the relationship ends.
According to sociologist Willard Waller, the person who has the least investment in a relationship is essentially the one who has all the power. This seems fairly obvious, I know, but it’s not obvious until science says so! Moreover, this new study gives additional information on just how asymmetrically committed relationships feel, and if they can last.
Scott Stanley and Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver looked at a sample of 315 young unmarried couples and found that over a third of these couples were part of an asymmetrical relationship. And surprising to no one, men were almost twice as likely to be the weak link in the relationship. And couples who live together were actually at higher risk for being in an asymmetrical committed relationship than couples who are dating but live separately. This may be because there is no clear relationship path or rituals anymore. People move in together and tend to “slide” into commitment instead of firmly declaring their love for each other.
Also not surprising, the study found that if both partners felt like they were more committed than their S.O. the relationship suffered. This asymmetrical commitment caused high levels of dissatisfaction and frustration.
Does a weak link equal a breakup?
Pretty much, yes. Basically, men are cool to hang out with a girl they aren’t super into. But if a powerful lady just isn’t that into the guy, the relationship is doomed and will eventually end (five times more than if the man is less committed). It seems women would rather be alone than in a relationship with a man they don’t like that much.
Are most partners just not that into each other?
According to Stanley and Rhoades, yes. The researchers believe that there are more asymmetrical committed relationships than ever, however, it’s a tough area to research because dating in general is becoming more ambiguous. Because of the lack of social “rituals” and clear relationship paths, people find themselves sliding into relationships without really making the executive decision to commit to each other. The strongest commitments tend to come from both parties making decisions to be together, while they still have the full freedom to choose.
First, people will be less committed to relationships that have problems. Second, relationships will have more problems when people are less committed.
Dating is changing and people are not as keen on openly making the decision to commit to their partner.
This lack of clarity and vulnerability makes dating and relationships more ambiguous
This often times leaves one person less committed to the relationship. The more committed partner feels anger and tension in the relationship
Please, PLEASE, talk it out and commit to your love or move on!