Women Need to Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors

Heidi K. Isern

Source: www.medium.com

Every woman I know in San Francisco says the same thing.

“He has to be this much taller and make this much more money. I mean, I’m tall and successful, so he should be MORE tall and successful. I’m WORTH IT, right?”

Worth what? Someone ‘better’ than you?

Men never say things like that. They don’t want “more” and in many cases they prefer “less.”

(less success = less complications…)

My friend Charles was frustrated after being ‘let down easy’ with the excuse “I think we want different lifestyles.”

He said, “Why do women have such a narrow band for dating and then complain there is no one out there?! Men date a wide spectrum of ages, incomes and heights. No date is dinged for being 5’5” or pursuing a career as a yogini.”

Charles was right. As long as a woman is kind, cute and brushes her teeth, she is considered eligible. This gives men a much wider pool of romantic candidates.

Mark, divorced and dating also complained to me, “Women are their own worst enemy when it comes to equality. You know, most men are expected to financially support a woman. Yet most women, even the successful ones, tremble at the thought of even buying a man a beer.”

Not convinced you should change your “entitled” tune?

Let’s do some rough math. (*caveat: math is rougher than my hands in Tahoe wintertime. All calculations based on high level census data split evenly across the genders and back of the envelope division, and don’t take into account important nuances like men who only date up or the number of heterosexual women I know that are done with men and now experiment with other women. But you’ll get the gist…)

Number of men in SF : 410,000

Number of women in SF: 400,000

Looks good as a start right? Not so fast…

Number of heterosexual men in SF vs women: 385,000 men vs. 375,000 women

Number of heterosexual men between 18–64 vs. women: 280,000 men vs. 274,000 women

Number of heterosexual men 18–64 in professional occupation (i.e. not Lyft drivers, fisherman or construction workers) 140,000 men vs. 137,000 women

Number of heterosexual men 18–64 in professional occupation with a graduate degree: 28,000 men vs. 27,000 women

So we have 1.04 educated professional heterosexual man for 1 heterosexual educated professional woman. Not too bad.

Yet educated professional men don’t view things this way.

They have 9.8 women for everyone of them. (274,000 heterosexual women between 18–64 for 28,000 heterosexual educated professional men in the same age range)

Girl, you got steep competition. Especially as men can date 15 years younger than you without raising eyebrows.

This bothers many women.

“My ex left me for Susie Pilates saying it was “easier.” Of course it’s easier. She is an embryo,” said Vickie who is recently divorced, runs 2 companies, and only wants to date men more successful than her ex husband to “teach him a lesson.”

“It’s not fair…all the good men are either happily married or happily dating down. There is no one left for us,” said Charlie, perpetually single. She only dates ivy leaguers, even though she went to Chico State.

But the dating sea is actually full if only Charlie and Vickie would swim out a little further. Why can’t successful women ditch the monetary and education requirements? After all, we no longer live in the 1950s and need someone to provide for us. I can buy my own champagne and my own bikini wax, thank you very much. So can you.

I’d challenge every female to ask themselves the following hard questions about what matters in a partnership.

1. Is a professional career what makes someone successful? Is not a man dedicated to a craft (from forestry to car service driving to teaching yoga) a man worth celebrating as long as he loves you? Passion for a pursuit can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Rich tech executives rarely have any time for craft, yoga or you. A pool boy might though…

2. Does someone need a pedigreed education to be considered smart? Some of the most successful entrepreneurs like Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) never went or finished college. If they wouldn’t have achieved such phenomenal success, which is a combination of hard work and luck, would that make them dumb and undateable? Would you prefer book smarts or street smarts?

3. Is a bank account level more important than how he makes you feel? If you consider the likes of Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick, I would argue there is an inverse relationship between monetary success and kindness. And if you make a decent income to support your lifestyle, why does your partner need to bankroll you? Perhaps it is time for women to start bankrolling men.

4. What is the hangup with height? Admittedly I used to only date men that were 6’1. My argument was that I liked to wear 4 inch heels. Since the male average height is 5’10” think how many amazing men I passed up all because of a meaningless physical attribute. I started wearing flats 3 years ago and man, did my dating life get better. It’s not about how tall he is but how tall he makes me feel, even in flats.

5. Why do you balk at the idea of supporting a male partner when you have no problem if they support you? If women truly wanted equality they would be open to all types of partnerships where two people create and contribute….yet perhaps not both financially. If a man makes a gourmet meal for you after you had a hard day in the office, isn’t that worth sacrificing a part of your paycheck for?

After dating men of all heights, incomes, and careers, I’ve decided to prioritize a man’s ability to communicate and have adventures with me over his pursuit of a powerful career to pay for my Dom Perignon. But this runs in my blood.

When my mother met my father she was a prestigious graduate bent on medical school. My father was a carpenter who had dropped out of college. Yet this was a turn on. You see, my mother had previously dated a pedigreed investment banker who departed for New York City to dive into 18 hour work days. She returned to her home state Montana looking for a man who valued Windy Paths more than Wall Street.

My parent’s first date? A bicycle trip across the state. I asked my mother why she fell for my father.

“I just wanted a real man that loved me and Montana.”

My father eventually returned to school to get an engineering degree (and then a masters) but that was after my parents were married and I was born. My favorite memories of my father are not the things he bought for me but the things he made with his own hands. My first rocking horse at age 3 and the carved wine stoppers I got at age 30.

My parents built a partnership not looking for the other to be “more” or “less” but to build something together as equal contributors. I think if we stop thinking about what we can GET in a relationship (young arm candy or financial security) and start focusing on what we can GIVE we’ll be much happier. We’ll also open up our dating pool.

























“我的前男友为了Susie Pilate离开我,说这是“放松”。当然很放松。她还只是一个胚胎,”维基最近离婚了,拥有2家公司,而只想约会比她的前夫更成功的人,“要给他一个教训”。















A Guide to Infidelity in an Open Relationship

Christian and Magda have been married for ten years, for six they’ve been having affairs with other people. It works — but it doesn’t mean they can’t cheat on each other.

Kati Krause

Source: https://medium.com/krautreporter-stories/a-guide-to-infidelity-in-an-open-relationship-bb1e5cb652b0#.jk4n0qdyo

This is a translated and slightly altered version of a text I wrote for the German magazine Krautreporter. Photos by Studio Kleinod.

A few months ago, my friends Christian and Magda suffered their first bad relationship crisis to date. Magda had a lover (“only sex,” she emphasises) and when she went to see him one night, Christian went out alone and met another woman. With him, too, it was “only sex” at first, but then things changed.

Usually affairs serve to improve their marital love life — they turn them on. However, this time the trick didn’t work. Christian was swept off his feet by the erotic tension with his new lover, the whole thing went out of control. “I felt intoxicated.” In hindsight, Magda even empathises: “That feeling that there’s a fire inside you, it’s amazing. I can totally understand that.”

Back then, however, she’d reached the limits of her understanding. Magda felt how Christian drifted away from her and, for the first time in their relationship, gave him a choice: Break this off immediately or I’m gone. It was a drastic measure, and it jolted Christian awake. He complied. Ever since then, they have been slowly rebuilding the damaged trust between them as I’ve been watching from the sidelines, in awe. Turns out you can cheat on your partner in an open relationship, too.

On this they agree: No matter how much you love each other — passion fades. That shouldn’t stand in the way of a happy marriage.

Christian, 37, and Magda, 39, have been together for 12 years and married for 10. And for about six years they’ve been having sex, affairs and little love stories with others. For a while that was fairly easy: She was in Berlin, he in Barcelona. But even now that they’ve been living together again for three years, they have kept it that way. Because on this they agree: No matter how much you love each other — passion fades. That shouldn’t stand in the way of a happy marriage.

“When you love somebody, there’s a difference between the relationship and the fleeting intoxication of sex,” Christian says. Neither of them can understand how a union that has been going well for years could end after one act of infidelity. “I’ve often asked myself: What kind of relationship is that? You’ve cheated once! Is there no empathy?” And Magda adds: “If I can’t be the way I am, I don’t want to be in a relationship. After all, many relationships fail because people aren’t being honest.”

We’re sitting in their kitchen, drinking wine and smoking. We do that regularly, Magda and Christian are my friends. That’s why they are letting me tell their story and even publish their pictures. Because we’re friends — and because they want to pass on some things they’ve learnt. They aren’t narcissists or social media junkies, both value their privacy. But this is a welcome opportunity to address a few prejudices. Because when they hear “open relationship,” many people still respond with a skeptical look. Isn’t that just an excuse for cheating? And is that really love, or a marriage of convenience?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself, too. But even more so, I’ve been wanting to find out the rules of engagement in an open relationship for very selfish reasons. I love sex. And I have yet to survive the blows that dying passion strikes against a relationship that has settled into comfortable routines.

Of course, I’m far from alone with this predicament. A large-scale study by the Psychological Institute at Göttingen University shows that only about a fourth of all German couples have sex twice a week. 57 percent sleep with each other once a week, 17 percent of all contestants hadn’t had any sex in four weeks. Another study by the same institute concluded that 97 percent of all men and women who start a relationship in Germany expect their partner to be faithful. And a very anecdotal survey among my friends leads me to conclude that this schism is something many of us strive to overcome, yet we have no idea how.

Because what if you aren’t ready for a life without the intoxicating effect of passion, of desire and its fulfilment? What if you’re attracted to other people even though you love your partner? The safety and stability of a stable relationship, coupled with the surprise and adventure that comes with sex with strangers — it sounds very much like having it all. But of several couples I know who’ve tried “the open relationship thing,” there are only two where it wasn’t the beginning of the end. Because it turns out that having an open relationship is just as hard as having a sexually monogamous one. It’s just that the hard bits have a different shape.

“It was an experiment. We didn’t know what would happen. There are no rules.”

Magda and Christian believe that for them it works because they’ve never regarded it as a model. “It was an experiment. We didn’t know what would happen,” Magda explains. “There are no rules. Every couple makes their own rules.” If you’d like an outside opinion, I believe that their recipe for success is no-frills pragmatism based on deep love and caring. And a near-total absence of jealousy, of course.

The path they’ve chosen was particularly challenging for Magda, who grew up in the Catholic culture of Colombia. She had to learn not only to have casual sex, but also to deal with other people judging her relationship. And she had to find out what love actually means to her, an issue she believes many people face today. “People want to redefine what love is,” she says. “They want freedom, but they don’t want to give back. They want to be loved but they don’t want to reveal anything. Maybe we have to expand our ideas of happiness and love. I don’t want love if it means doing something only because society expects it.”

“Maybe we have to expand our ideas of happiness and love. I don’t want love if it means doing something only because society expects it.”

In Christian and Magda’s relationship, things always just sort of happened. They met at Sónar Festival in Barcelona where he, the Austrian graphic designer, worked as a VJ and spontaneously used her, the Colombian who’d overstayed her tourist visa, as a model. Their one-night stand slowly turned into an ever more serious relationship, and Magda’s inability to travel became a nuisance. She needed a residence permit. Suddenly, they were talking about marriage. “It was a pragmatic decision. It had nothing to do with love,” Magda asserts, matter-of-factly. She had never even wanted to get married, she’d seen too much sanctimoniousness and double standards back in Colombia. Christian, on the other hand, simply felt too young. “I wasn’t at an age where I could say: I’m marrying the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

But marry they did, in summer 2005, and two years later Magda was awarded Spanish citizenship. They could have gotten divorced now, yet didn’t. However, while Christian’s design studio flourished, Magda had trouble settling in Barcelona. She decided to move to Berlin. They both needed the break.

Looking back to those days, they say: We were like brother and sister. Their relationship had changed, desire was gone. “And that’s still an issue,” Magda says. “Being happy is never a permanent state. Passion fades. Always, in my experience. But many people can turn me on. Love goes deeper. And love I only know with Christian.”

This is something of a fashionable topic among sexual therapists. Both the German Ulrich Clement and the Belgian Esther Perel are stars of their trade who advocate more openness and honesty in relationships (for some entertainment, watch Perel’s TED talk on the subject). They believe that our standards in modern relationships are simply too high — that we expect one person to fulfil the roles traditionally covered by an entire village. “We want everything from one person: Great conversation and great sex, security and adventure. These are hopelessly excessive demands for any normal relationship,” Clement said in an interview.

These “delusions of grandeur that one love has to provide for everything,” as he calls it — Magda and Christian have simply turned their backs on that. And even though they have no rules, they instinctively act according to principles that Perel and Clement suggest: They are respectful, loyal, relaxed and very much aware of their boundaries.

Sexual therapists believe that our standards in modern relationships are simply too high — that we expect one person to fulfil the roles traditionally covered by an entire village.

One question that often arises when discussing open relationships is that of balance and fairness. Isn’t one person exploiting the other? When I ask Christian and Magda whether they feel one is profiting more than the other, they both say: Yes, me.

They’re saying this as they are sitting together, correcting and finishing each other’s sentences. At first glance, they are cultural clichés: She’s emotional, talks about big feelings and existential learnings and true love, while he focusses on facts and details, acts rationally and interrupts her when she strays from the chronological sequence of events. Yet he is the one who blossoms when he’s among people, who travels constantly and parties all night while she, the yoga teacher, goes to bed at 11pm, gets up at 6 and generally likes things quiet. He has more affairs, her’s may last a bit longer. There are no clear power structures. Certainly neither lacks willpower.

The feeling of benefitting more than the other goes back to the first time they cheated on each other — because their open relationship didn’t begin with rules, but with two acts of infidelity. Christian in Barcelona, Magda in Berlin. They told each other at their Christmas reunion, first her, than him. The cat was out of the bag, both were relieved and decided, more implicitly than explicitly, to continue this way. Christian recalls it as a grey zone: “We simply accepted it tacitly.”

That leads us to transparency. How much does the other person have to know? He’s always found it more difficult to come clean than her, and they rarely tell each other immediately. Details aren’t required, either. “We’ve never had an interrogative situation,” Christian says. “Sometimes things surface after a couple of glasses of wine.”

All in all, they have few rules. “Nobody from our circle of friends” is one, but Christian is by now good friends with one of Magda’s former lovers and often forgets that they ever had an affair. “It’s like knowing Magda’s ex. I couldn’t care less about her ex,” he says and laughs.

So does sex matter less or more to them than to others? It’s hard to say. Clearly sex is very important to them in general, but it plays a secondary role in their relationship. There are much more important things. That Christian inspires Magda to strive to be a better person, for example. Or that Christian feels incapable of being angry with Magda, no matter what she does.

There is one rule, however, and it was Magda who spelled it out. “I’m the queen. There may be ladies of the court, but I always have to be number one.” In other words: They can share their bodies freely, but their hearts belong to each other. Even their relationship is exclusive. Christian puts it this way: “It’s essentially a monogamous relationship. Only that we give each other space.”

But even though they emphasise the difference between love and passion, the boundaries are unclear. Magda says she can’t have any superficial relationships at all, whether they’re friendships or affairs, and Christian agrees: “It’s never just about a quick fuck. There’s always attraction that goes beyond the purely physical.” Where attraction ends and love begins is something only the two of them know.

The betrayal wasn’t the other woman. It was Christian’s doubt in his life with Magda. And that could have just as easily happened if they didn’t have an open relationship.

So it is possible to be unfaithful in an open relationship, only that adultery doesn’t take place in bed. It’s not an act, it’s a feeling — the feeling that Magda had a few months ago when Christian was swept off his feet by his lover. For the first time in their relationship, she thought they’d be better off going separate ways. However, the betrayal wasn’t the other woman; it was Christian’s doubt in his life with Magda. And that, both agree, could have happened just as easily if they didn’t have an open relationship.

So they had to make a very conscious decision to be with each other again. They gave themselves a few months, talked a lot, fought, made up again, travelled to Colombia and said: Let’s see how things go afterwards. Things are going fine. They’re thinking about having a baby. I continue standing by the sidelines, in awe.

It’s not that, having written this article, I’m much wiser about how one leads an open relationship. I still have no master plan for my own love life and no idea whether I could deal with the emotional stress of my partner having sex with others. Like Christian and Magda, I’ll have to experiment, I guess.

But there’s one thing I’ve taken away from their story: perseverance. “We have a lot of stamina,” Christian says. “Others would act much more quickly. We simply wait a bit and often things just work themselves out.” Or to say it in the words of celebrity sex therapist Ulrich Clement: “Innocence is lost. But hanging on provides the opportunity for something new. And that can be very exciting.”

克里斯蒂安和玛格达结婚十年了,他们各自和别人有过六年的外遇。这样可行 - 但这并不意味着他们不能互相背板。


通常外遇用来改善他们的婚姻爱情生活 。然而,这一次的把戏没有凑效。克里斯蒂安与他的新情人的紧张刺激让他神魂颠倒,失控失控。“我感到陶醉。”事后,玛格达甚至对此强调:“觉得有一团火在你里面,让人惊讶。我完全理解。”


在这一点上他们同意:无论你多么爱对方 - 激情褪去。那不应该妨碍幸福的婚姻。

克里斯蒂安,37岁,和玛格达,39岁,已经在一起12年,结婚10。大约六年来,他们有性爱,外遇和与他人的小爱情故事。有一段时间很容易:她在柏林,他在巴塞罗那。但即使现在他们已经在一起生活了三年,他们一直这样。因为在这一点上他们同意:无论你多么爱对方 - 激情褪去。那不应该妨碍幸福的婚姻。






因为,要是你没有准备好去过一种没有激情、欲望和满足的陶醉感的生活呢?要是你即使爱你的伴侣但是却吸引了其他人呢?安全和稳定的伴侣关系,再加上和陌生人做爱的刺激和冒险 -这听起来非常像拥有一切。但我认识的几对尝试过“开放式关系”的夫妇中,只有两个不是结束的开始。因为,开放的关系一样具有一夫一妻的本质特点,只是具有不同的形式。










性治疗师是一个时髦的话题。无论是德国的乌尔里希克莱门特,还是比利时埃丝特佩莱尔都是这方面的明星。他们主张更开放且更诚实的关系(作为娱乐,可以看佩莱尔关于这个话题的TED演讲)。他们认为,我们现代的两性关系的标准太高了 - 我们期待一个人来完成传统上由一整个村庄来扮演的角色。“我们想从一个人身上得到一切:极好的交流,超棒的性,安全且刺激。这些是任何正常的两性关系没不可能完全满足的条件”克莱门特在接受采访时说。

这些他称之为“爱必须提供的一切的夸大妄想。”  -玛格达和克里斯蒂安都背弃了。虽然他们没有规则,他们本能地按佩莱尔和克莱门特建议的原则办事:他们彼此尊重、忠诚,放松且非常了解自己的界限。

我们现代的两性关系的标准太高了 - 我们期待一个人来完成传统上由一整个村庄来扮演的角色。






那么和其他人相比,性对他们来说是否更重要? 这很难说。显然,性对他们来说很重要,但在他们的关系中起着次要的作用,还有更重要的事情。比如,克里斯蒂安激励玛格达努力成为一个更好的人。或者克里斯蒂安觉得不能对玛格达生气,不管她做什么。




所以有可能在一个开放的关系不忠,只要奸淫不是发生在床上。这不是一种行为,它是一种感觉 -。在几个月前得知克里斯蒂安与情人交欢后,玛格达也有这种感觉。。在他们的关系中,第一次,她认为他们分道扬镳更好。然而,背叛不是因为另一个女人,而是克里斯蒂安对与玛格达生活的怀疑。而且,双方都认为如果他们没有一个开放的关系,可能会很容易发生。



但我已从他们的故事中获得的一种东西:毅力。“我们有很多耐力,”克里斯蒂安说。“其他人会行动得更快。我们只是等待一下,然后事情往往自己找到解决办法了。”明星性治疗师Ulrich Clement说:“纯真是失去了。但搁置会提供一些新事物出现的机会。这会非常令人兴奋。”


Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat

0:11 I’d like to talk today about the two biggest social trends in the coming century, and perhaps in the next 10,000 years. But I want to start with my work on romantic love, because that’s my most recent work. What I and my colleagues did was put 32 people, who were madly in love, into a functional MRI brain scanner. 17 who were madly in love and their love was accepted; and 15 who were madly in love and they had just been dumped. And so I want to tell you about that first, and then go on into where I think love is going.

0:47 (Laughter)

0:49 “What ’tis to love?” Shakespeare said. I think our ancestors — I think human beings have been wondering about this question since they sat around their campfires or lay and watched the stars a million years ago. I started out by trying to figure out what romantic love was by looking at the last 45 years of the psychological research and as it turns out, there’s a very specific group of things that happen when you fall in love. The first thing that happens is, a person begins to take on what I call, “special meaning.” As a truck driver once said to me, “The world had a new center, and that center was Mary Anne.”

1:32 George Bernard Shaw said it differently. “Love consists of overestimating the differences between one woman and another.” And indeed, that’s what we do.

1:41 (Laughter)

1:44 And then you just focus on this person. You can list what you don’t like about them, but then you sweep that aside and focus on what you do. As Chaucer said, “Love is blind.”

1:57 In trying to understand romantic love, I decided I would read poetry from all over the world, and I just want to give you one very short poem from eighth-century China, because it’s an almost perfect example of a man who is focused totally on a particular woman. It’s a little bit like when you are madly in love with somebody and you walk into a parking lot — their car is different from every other car in the parking lot. Their wine glass at dinner is different from every other wine glass at the dinner party. And in this case, a man got hooked on a bamboo sleeping mat.

2:30 And it goes like this. It’s by a guy called Yuan Zhen. “I cannot bear to put away the bamboo sleeping mat. The night I brought you home, I watched you roll it out.” He became hooked on a sleeping mat, probably because of elevated activity of dopamine in his brain, just like with you and me.

2:48 But anyway, not only does this person take on special meaning, you focus your attention on them. You aggrandize them. But you have intense energy. As one Polynesian said, “I felt like jumping in the sky.” You’re up all night. You’re walking till dawn. You feel intense elation when things are going well; mood swings into horrible despair when things are going poorly. Real dependence on this person. As one businessman in New York said to me, “Anything she liked, I liked.” Simple. Romantic love is very simple.

3:21 You become extremely sexually possessive. You know, if you’re just sleeping with somebody casually, you don’t really care if they’re sleeping with somebody else. But the moment you fall in love, you become extremely sexually possessive of them. I think there’s a Darwinian purpose to this. The whole point of this is to pull two people together strongly enough to begin to rear babies as a team.

3:44 But the main characteristics of romantic love are craving: an intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally. It would be nice to go to bed with them, but you want them to call you on the telephone, to invite you out, etc., to tell you that they love you. The other main characteristic is motivation. The motor in the brain begins to crank, and you want this person.

4:12 And last but not least, it is an obsession. Before I put these people in the MRI machine, I would ask them all kinds of questions. But my most important question was always the same. It was: “What percentage of the day and night do you think about this person?” And indeed, they would say, “All day. All night. I can never stop thinking about him or her.”

4:36 And then, the very last question — I would always have to work myself up to this question, because I’m not a psychologist. I don’t work with people in any kind of traumatic situation. My final question was always the same. I would say, “Would you die for him or her?” And, indeed, these people would say “Yes!” as if I had asked them to pass the salt. I was just staggered by it.

4:58 So we scanned their brains, looking at a photograph of their sweetheart and looking at a neutral photograph, with a distraction task in between. So we could look at the same brain when it was in that heightened state and when it was in a resting state. And we found activity in a lot of brain regions. In fact, one of the most important was a brain region that becomes active when you feel the rush of cocaine. And indeed, that’s exactly what happens.

5:26 I began to realize that romantic love is not an emotion. In fact, I had always thought it was a series of emotions, from very high to very low. But actually, it’s a drive. It comes from the motor of the mind, the wanting part of the mind, the craving part of the mind. The kind of part of the mind when you’re reaching for that piece of chocolate, when you want to win that promotion at work. The motor of the brain. It’s a drive.

5:54 And in fact, I think it’s more powerful than the sex drive. You know, if you ask somebody to go to bed with you, and they say, “No, thank you,” you certainly don’t kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But certainly, around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love. They die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptures, paintings, myths, legends. In over 175 societies, people have left their evidence of this powerful brain system. I have come to think it’s one of the most powerful brain systems on Earth for both great joy and great sorrow.

6:38 And I’ve also come to think that it’s one of three basically different brain systems that evolved from mating and reproduction. One is the sex drive: the craving for sexual gratification. W.H. Auden called it an “intolerable neural itch,” and indeed, that’s what it is. It keeps bothering you a little bit, like being hungry. The second of these three brain systems is romantic love: that elation, obsession of early love. And the third brain system is attachment: that sense of calm and security you can feel for a long-term partner.

7:11 And I think that the sex drive evolved to get you out there, looking for a whole range of partners. You can feel it when you’re just driving along in your car. It can be focused on nobody. I think romantic love evolved to enable you to focus your mating energy on just one individual at a time, thereby conserving mating time and energy. And I think that attachment, the third brain system, evolved to enable you to tolerate this human being at least long enough to raise a child together as a team. So with that preamble, I want to go into discussing the two most profound social trends. One of the last 10,000 years and the other, certainly of the last 25 years, that are going to have an impact on these three different brain systems: lust, romantic love and deep attachment to a partner.

8:05 The first is women working, moving into the workforce. I’ve looked at 130 societies through the demographic yearbooks of the United Nations. Everywhere in the world, 129 out of 130 of them, women are not only moving into the job market — sometimes very, very slowly, but they are moving into the job market — and they are very slowly closing that gap between men and women in terms of economic power, health and education. It’s very slow.

8:37 For every trend on this planet, there’s a counter-trend. We all know of them, but nevertheless — the Arabs say, “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.” And, indeed, that caravan is moving on. Women are moving back into the job market. And I say back into the job market, because this is not new. For millions of years, on the grasslands of Africa, women commuted to work to gather their vegetables. They came home with 60 to 80 percent of the evening meal. The double income family was the standard. And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men. In short, we’re really moving forward to the past.

9:23 Then, women’s worst invention was the plow. With the beginning of plow agriculture, men’s roles became extremely powerful. Women lost their ancient jobs as collectors, but then with the industrial revolution and the post-industrial revolution they’re moving back into the job market. In short, they are acquiring the status that they had a million years ago, 10,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago. We are seeing now one of the most remarkable traditions in the history of the human animal. And it’s going to have an impact.

10:01 I generally give a whole lecture on the impact of women on the business community. I’ll say just a couple of things, and then go on to sex and love. There’s a lot of gender differences; anybody who thinks men and women are alike simply never had a boy and a girl child. I don’t know why they want to think that men and women are alike. There’s much we have in common, but there’s a whole lot that we do not have in common.

10:22 We are — in the words of Ted Hughes, “I think that we are like two feet. We need each other to get ahead.” But we did not evolve to have the same brain. And we’re finding more and more gender differences in the brain. I’ll only just use a couple and then move on to sex and love. One of them is women’s verbal ability. Women can talk.

10:42 Women’s ability to find the right word rapidly, basic articulation goes up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak. But even at menstruation, they’re better than the average man. Women can talk. They’ve been doing it for a million years; words were women’s tools. They held that baby in front of their face, cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words. And, indeed, they’re becoming a very powerful force.

11:08 Even in places like India and Japan, where women are not moving rapidly into the regular job market, they’re moving into journalism. And I think that the television is like the global campfire. We sit around it and it shapes our minds. Almost always, when I’m on TV, the producer who calls me, who negotiates what we’re going to say, is a woman. In fact, Solzhenitsyn once said, “To have a great writer is to have another government.”

11:40 Today 54 percent of people who are writers in America are women. It’s one of many, many characteristics that women have that they will bring into the job market. They’ve got incredible people skills, negotiating skills. They’re highly imaginative. We now know the brain circuitry of imagination, of long-term planning. They tend to be web thinkers. Because the female parts of the brain are better connected, they tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers, what I call web thinkers.

12:19 Men tend to — and these are averages — tend to get rid of what they regard as extraneous, focus on what they do, and move in a more step-by-step thinking pattern. They’re both perfectly good ways of thinking. We need both of them to get ahead. In fact, there’s many more male geniuses in the world. And there’s also many more male idiots in the world.

12:42 (Laughter)

12:44 When the male brain works well, it works extremely well. And what I really think that we’re doing is, we’re moving towards a collaborative society, a society in which the talents of both men and women are becoming understood and valued and employed.

13:00 But in fact, women moving into the job market is having a huge impact on sex and romance and family life. Foremost, women are starting to express their sexuality. I’m always astonished when people come to me and say, “Why is it that men are so adulterous?” “Why do you think more men are adulterous than women?” “Well, men are more adulterous!” And I say, “Who do you think these men are sleeping with?”

13:26 (Laughter)

13:27 And — basic math!

13:29 Anyway. In the Western world, women start sooner at sex, have more partners, express less remorse for the partners that they do, marry later, have fewer children, leave bad marriages in order to get good ones. We are seeing the rise of female sexual expression. And, indeed, once again we’re moving forward to the kind of sexual expression that we probably saw on the grasslands of Africa a million years ago, because this is the kind of sexual expression that we see in hunting and gathering societies today.

14:03 We’re also returning to an ancient form of marriage equality. They’re now saying that the 21st century is going to be the century of what they call the “symmetrical marriage,” or the “pure marriage,” or the “companionate marriage.” This is a marriage between equals, moving forward to a pattern that is highly compatible with the ancient human spirit.

14:32 We’re also seeing a rise of romantic love. 91 percent of American women and 86 percent of American men would not marry somebody who had every single quality they were looking for in a partner, if they were not in love with that person. People around the world, in a study of 37 societies, want to be in love with the person that they marry. Indeed, arranged marriages are on their way off this braid of human life.

15:06 I even think that marriages might even become more stable because of the second great world trend. The first one being women moving into the job market, the second one being the aging world population. They’re now saying that in America, that middle age should be regarded as up to age 85. Because in that highest age category of 76 to 85, as much as 40 percent of people have nothing really wrong with them. So we’re seeing there’s a real extension of middle age.

15:37 For one of my books, I looked at divorce data in 58 societies. And as it turns out, the older you get, the less likely you are to divorce. So the divorce rate right now is stable in America, and it’s actually beginning to decline. It may decline some more. I would even say that with Viagra, estrogen replacement, hip replacements and the incredibly interesting women — women have never been as interesting as they are now. Not at any time on this planet have women been so educated, so interesting, so capable. And so I honestly think that if there really was ever a time in human evolution when we have the opportunity to make good marriages, that time is now.

16:27 However, there’s always kinds of complications in this. These three brain systems — lust, romantic love and attachment — don’t always go together. They can go together, by the way. That’s why casual sex isn’t so casual. With orgasm you get a spike of dopamine. Dopamine’s associated with romantic love, and you can just fall in love with somebody who you’re just having casual sex with. With orgasm, then you get a real rush of oxytocin and vasopressin — those are associated with attachment. This is why you can feel such a sense of cosmic union with somebody after you’ve made love to them.

17:00 But these three brain systems: lust, romantic love and attachment, aren’t always connected to each other. You can feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners. In short, we’re capable of loving more than one person at a time. In fact, you can lie in bed at night and swing from deep feelings of attachment for one person to deep feelings of romantic love for somebody else. It’s as if there’s a committee meeting going on in your head as you are trying to decide what to do. So I don’t think, honestly, we’re an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce. I think the happiness we find, we make. And I think, however, we can make good relationships with each other.

17:57 So I want to conclude with two things. I want to conclude with a worry, and with a wonderful story. The worry is about antidepressants. Over 100 million prescriptions of antidepressants are written every year in the United States. And these drugs are going generic. They are seeping around the world. I know one girl who’s been on these antidepressants, SSRIs, serotonin-enhancing antidepressants — since she was 13. She’s 23. She’s been on them ever since she was 13.

18:36 I’ve got nothing against people who take them short term, when they’re going through something horrible. They want to commit suicide or kill somebody else. I would recommend it. But more and more people in the United States are taking them long term. And indeed, what these drugs do is raise levels of serotonin. And by raising levels of serotonin, you suppress the dopamine circuit. Everybody knows that. Dopamine is associated with romantic love. Not only do they suppress the dopamine circuit, but they kill the sex drive. And when you kill the sex drive, you kill orgasm. And when you kill orgasm, you kill that flood of drugs associated with attachment. The things are connected in the brain. And when you tamper with one brain system, you’re going to tamper with another. I’m just simply saying that a world without love is a deadly place.

19:35 So now —

19:36 (Applause)

19:41 Thank you.

19:42 I want to end with a story. And then, just a comment. I’ve been studying romantic love and sex and attachment for 30 years. I’m an identical twin; I am interested in why we’re all alike. Why you and I are alike, why the Iraqis and the Japanese and the Australian Aborigines and the people of the Amazon River are all alike. And about a year ago, an Internet dating service, Match.com, came to me and asked me if I would design a new dating site for them. I said, “I don’t know anything about personality. You know? I don’t know. Do you think you’ve got the right person?” They said, “Yes.” It got me thinking about why it is that you fall in love with one person rather than another.

20:27 That’s my current project; it will be my next book. There’s all kinds of reasons that you fall in love with one person rather than another. Timing is important. Proximity is important. Mystery is important. You fall in love with somebody who’s somewhat mysterious, in part because mystery elevates dopamine in the brain, probably pushes you over that threshold to fall in love. You fall in love with somebody who fits within what I call your “love map,” an unconscious list of traits that you build in childhood as you grow up. And I also think that you gravitate to certain people, actually, with somewhat complementary brain systems. And that’s what I’m now contributing to this.

21:05 But I want to tell you a story, to illustrate. I’ve been carrying on here about the biology of love. I wanted to show you a little bit about the culture of it, too, the magic of it. It’s a story that was told to me by somebody who had heard it just from one — probably a true story. It was a graduate student — I’m at Rutgers and my two colleagues — Art Aron is at SUNY Stony Brook. That’s where we put our people in the MRI machine.

21:36 And this graduate student was madly in love with another graduate student, and she was not in love with him. And they were all at a conference in Beijing. And he knew from our work that if you go and do something very novel with somebody, you can drive up the dopamine in the brain, and perhaps trigger this brain system for romantic love.

22:00 (Laughter)

22:02 So he decided he’d put science to work. And he invited this girl to go off on a rickshaw ride with him.

22:11 And sure enough — I’ve never been in one, but apparently they go all around the buses and the trucks and it’s crazy and it’s noisy and it’s exciting. He figured that this would drive up the dopamine, and she’d fall in love with him. So off they go and she’s squealing and squeezing him and laughing and having a wonderful time. An hour later they get down off of the rickshaw, and she throws her hands up and she says, “Wasn’t that wonderful?” And, “Wasn’t that rickshaw driver handsome!”

22:43 (Laughter)

22:46 (Applause)

22:53 There’s magic to love!

22:54 (Applause)

22:55 But I will end by saying that millions of years ago, we evolved three basic drives: the sex drive, romantic love and attachment to a long-term partner. These circuits are deeply embedded in the human brain. They’re going to survive as long as our species survives on what Shakespeare called “this mortal coil.”

23:17 Thank you.

23:18 Chris Anderson: Helen Fisher!

23:19 (Applause)

Technology hasn’t changed love. Here’s why

0:11 I was recently traveling in the Highlands of New Guinea, and I was talking with a man who had three wives. I asked him, “How many wives would you like to have?” And there was this long pause, and I thought to myself, “Is he going to say five? Is he going to say 10? Is he going to say 25?” And he leaned towards me and he whispered, “None.”

0:31 (Laughter)

0:34 Eighty-six percent of human societies permit a man to have several wives: polygyny. But in the vast majority of these cultures, only about five or ten percent of men actually do have several wives. Having several partners can be a toothache. In fact, co-wives can fight with each other, sometimes they can even poison each other’s children. And you’ve got to have a lot of cows, a lot of goats, a lot of money, a lot of land, in order to build a harem.

1:02 We are a pair-bonding species. Ninety-seven percent of mammals do not pair up to rear their young; human beings do. I’m not suggesting that we’re not — that we’re necessarily sexually faithful to our partners. I’ve looked at adultery in 42 cultures, I understand, actually, some of the genetics of it, and some of the brain circuitry of it. It’s very common around the world, but we are built to love.

1:26 How is technology changing love? I’m going to say almost not at all. I study the brain. I and my colleagues have put over 100 people into a brain scanner — people who had just fallen happily in love, people who had just been rejected in love and people who are in love long-term. And it is possible to remain “in love” long-term. And I’ve long ago maintained that we’ve evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction: sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love and feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner. And together, these three brain systems — with many other parts of the brain — orchestrate our sexual, our romantic and our family lives.

2:13 But they lie way below the cortex, way below the limbic system where we feel our emotions, generate our emotions. They lie in the most primitive parts of the brain, linked with energy, focus, craving, motivation, wanting and drive. In this case, the drive to win life’s greatest prize: a mating partner. They evolved over 4.4 million years ago among our first ancestors, and they’re not going to change if you swipe left or right on Tinder.

2:45 (Laughter)

2:47 (Applause)

2:49 There’s no question that technology is changing the way we court: emailing, texting, emojis to express your emotions, sexting, “liking” a photograph, selfies … We’re seeing new rules and taboos for how to court. But, you know — is this actually dramatically changing love? What about the late 1940s, when the automobile became very popular and we suddenly had rolling bedrooms?

3:20 (Laughter)

3:21 How about the introduction of the birth control pill? Unchained from the great threat of pregnancy and social ruin, women could finally express their primitive and primal sexuality.

3:36 Even dating sites are not changing love. I’m Chief Scientific Advisor to Match.com, I’ve been it for 11 years. I keep telling them and they agree with me, that these are not dating sites, they are introducing sites. When you sit down in a bar, in a coffee house, on a park bench, your ancient brain snaps into action like a sleeping cat awakened, and you smile and laugh and listen and parade the way our ancestors did 100,000 years ago. We can give you various people — all the dating sites can — but the only real algorithm is your own human brain. Technology is not going to change that.

4:20 Technology is also not going to change who you choose to love. I study the biology of personality, and I’ve come to believe that we’ve evolved four very broad styles of thinking and behaving, linked with the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems. So I created a questionnaire directly from brain science to measure the degree to which you express the traits — the constellation of traits — linked with each of these four brain systems. I then put that questionnaire on various dating sites in 40 countries. Fourteen million or more people have now taken the questionnaire, and I’ve been able to watch who’s naturally drawn to whom.

5:05 And as it turns out, those who were very expressive of the dopamine system tend to be curious, creative, spontaneous, energetic — I would imagine there’s an awful lot of people like that in this room — they’re drawn to people like themselves. Curious, creative people need people like themselves. People who are very expressive of the serotonin system tend to be traditional, conventional, they follow the rules, they respect authority, they tend to be religious — religiosity is in the serotonin system — and traditional people go for traditional people. In that way, similarity attracts. In the other two cases, opposites attract. People very expressive of the testosterone system tend to be analytical, logical, direct, decisive, and they go for their opposite: they go for somebody who’s high estrogen, somebody who’s got very good verbal skills and people skills, who’s very intuitive and who’s very nurturing and emotionally expressive. We have natural patterns of mate choice. Modern technology is not going to change who we choose to love.

6:08 But technology is producing one modern trend that I find particularly important. It’s associated with the concept of paradox of choice. For millions of years, we lived in little hunting and gathering groups. You didn’t have the opportunity to choose between 1,000 people on a dating site. In fact, I’ve been studying this recently, and I actually think there’s some sort of sweet spot in the brain; I don’t know what it is, but apparently, from reading a lot of the data, we can embrace about five to nine alternatives, and after that, you get into what academics call “cognitive overload,” and you don’t choose any.

6:47 So I’ve come to think that due to this cognitive overload, we’re ushering in a new form of courtship that I call “slow love.” I arrived at this during my work with Match.com. Every year for the last six years, we’ve done a study called “Singles in America.” We don’t poll the Match population, we poll the American population. We use 5,000-plus people, a representative sample of Americans based on the US census.

7:15 We’ve got data now on over 30,000 people, and every single year, I see some of the same patterns. Every single year when I ask the question, over 50 percent of people have had a one-night stand — not necessarily last year, but in their lives — 50 percent have had a friends with benefits during the course of their lives, and over 50 percent have lived with a person long-term before marrying. Americans think that this is reckless. I have doubted that for a long time; the patterns are too strong. There’s got to be some Darwinian explanation — Not that many people are crazy.

7:52 And I stumbled, then, on a statistic that really came home to me. It was a very interesting academic article in which I found that 67 percent of singles in America today who are living long-term with somebody, have not yet married because they are terrified of divorce. They’re terrified of the social, legal, emotional, economic consequences of divorce. So I came to realize that I don’t think this is recklessness; I think it’s caution. Today’s singles want to know every single thing about a partner before they wed. You learn a lot between the sheets, not only about how somebody makes love, but whether they’re kind, whether they can listen and at my age, whether they’ve got a sense of humor.

8:40 (Laughter)

8:42 And in an age where we have too many choices, we have very little fear of pregnancy and disease and we’ve got no feeling of shame for sex before marriage, I think people are taking their time to love.

8:57 And actually, what’s happening is, what we’re seeing is a real expansion of the precommitment stage before you tie the knot. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a relationship, now it’s the finale. But the human brain —

9:12 (Laughter)

9:14 The human brain always triumphs, and indeed, in the United States today, 86 percent of Americans will marry by age 49. And even in cultures around the world where they’re not marrying as often, they are settling down eventually with a long-term partner.

9:28 So it began to occur to me: during this long extension of the precommitment stage, if you can get rid of bad relationships before you marry, maybe we’re going to see more happy marriages. So I did a study of 1,100 married people in America — not on Match.com, of course — and I asked them a lot of questions. But one of the questions was, “Would you re-marry the person you’re currently married to?” And 81 percent said, “Yes.”

9:59 In fact, the greatest change in modern romance and family life is not technology. It’s not even slow love. It’s actually women piling into the job market in cultures around the world. For millions of years, our ancestors lived in little hunting and gathering groups. Women commuted to work to gather their fruits and vegetables. They came home with 60 to 80 percent of the evening meal. The double-income family was the rule. And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men.

10:35 Then the environment changed some 10,000 years ago, we began to settle down on the farm and both men and women became obliged, really, to marry the right person, from the right background, from the right religion and from the right kin and social and political connections. Men’s jobs became more important: they had to move the rocks, fell the trees, plow the land. They brought the produce to local markets, and came home with the equivalent of money.

11:00 Along with this, we see a rise of a host of beliefs: the belief of virginity at marriage, arranged marriages — strictly arranged marriages — the belief that the man is the head of the household, that the wife’s place is in the home and most important, honor thy husband, and ’til death do us part. These are gone. They are going, and in many places, they are gone.

11:25 We are right now in a marriage revolution. We are shedding 10,000 years of our farming tradition and moving forward towards egalitarian relationships between the sexes — something I regard as highly compatible with the ancient human spirit.

11:44 I’m not a Pollyanna; there’s a great deal to cry about. I’ve studied divorce in 80 cultures, I’ve studied, as I say, adultery in many — there’s a whole pile of problems. As William Butler Yeats, the poet, once said, “Love is the crooked thing.” I would add, “Nobody gets out alive.”

12:02 (Laughter)

12:04 We all have problems. But in fact, I think the poet Randall Jarrell really sums it up best. He said, “The dark, uneasy world of family life — where the greatest can fail, and the humblest succeed.”

12:19 But I will leave you with this: love and attachment will prevail, technology cannot change it. And I will conclude by saying any understanding of human relationships must take into account one the most powerful determinants of human behavior: the unquenchable, adaptable and primordial human drive to love.

12:44 Thank you.

12:45 (Applause)

12:50 Kelly Stoetzel: Thank you so much for that, Helen. As you know, there’s another speaker here with us that works in your same field. She comes at it from a different perspective. Esther Perel is a psychotherapist who works with couples. You study data, Esther studies the stories the couples tell her when they come to her for help. Let’s have her join us on the stage. Esther?

13:13 (Applause)

13:21 So Esther, when you were watching Helen’s talk, was there any part of it that resonated with you through the lens of your own work that you’d like to comment on?

13:31 Esther Perel: It’s interesting, because on the one hand, the need for love is ubiquitous and universal. But the way we love — the meaning we make out of it — the rules that govern our relationships, I think, are changing fundamentally.

13:46 We come from a model that, until now, was primarily regulated around duty and obligation, the needs of the collective and loyalty. And we have shifted it to a model of free choice and individual rights, and self-fulfillment and happiness. And so, that was the first thing I thought, that the need doesn’t change, but the context and the way we regulate these relationships changes a lot.

14:13 On the paradox of choice — you know, on the one hand we relish the novelty and the playfulness, I think, to be able to have so many options. And at the same time, as you talk about this cognitive overload, I see many, many people who … who dread the uncertainty and self-doubt that comes with this massa of choice, creating a case of “FOMO” and then leading us — FOMO, fear of missed opportunity, or fear of missing out — it’s like, “How do I know I have found ‘the one’ — the right one?”

14:51 So we’ve created what I call this thing of “stable ambiguity.” Stable ambiguity is when you are too afraid to be alone but also not really willing to engage in intimacy-building. It’s a set of tactics that kind of prolong the uncertainty of a relationship but also the uncertainty of the breakup. So, here on the internet you have three major ones. One is icing and simmering, which are great stalling tactics that offer a kind of holding pattern that emphasizes the undefined nature of a relationship but at the same time gives you enough of a comforting consistency and enough freedom of the undefined boundaries.

15:32 (Laughter)

15:35 Yeah?

15:36 And then comes ghosting. And ghosting is, basically, you disappear from this massa of texts on the spot, and you don’t have to deal with the pain that you inflict on another, because you’re making it invisible even to yourself.

15:50 (Laughter)

15:52 Yeah?

15:53 So I was thinking — these words came up for me as I was listening to you, like how a vocabulary also creates a reality, and at the same time, that’s my question to you: Do you think when the context changes, it still means that the nature of love remains the same?

16:13 You study the brain and I study people’s relationships and stories, so I think it’s everything you say, plus. But I don’t always know the degree to which a changing context … Does it at some point begin to change — If the meaning changes, does it change the need, or is the need clear of the entire context?

16:34 HF: Wow! Well —

16:36 (Laughter)

16:38 (Applause)

16:41 Well, I’ve got three points here, right? First of all, to your first one: there’s no question that we’ve changed, that we now want a person to love, and for thousands of years, we had to marry the right person from the right background and right connection. And in fact, in my studies of 5,000 people every year, I ask them, “What are you looking for?” And every single year, over 97 percent say —

17:04 EP: The list grows —

17:05 HF: Well, no. The basic thing is over 97 percent of people want somebody that respects them, somebody they can trust and confide in, somebody who makes them laugh, somebody who makes enough time for them and somebody who they find physically attractive. That never changes. And there’s certainly — you know, there’s two parts —

17:26 EP: But you know how I call that? That’s not what people used to say —

17:30 HF: That’s exactly right.

17:32 EP: They said they wanted somebody with whom they have companionship, economic support, children. We went from a production economy to a service economy.

17:39 (Laughter)

17:40 We did it in the larger culture, and we’re doing it in marriage.

17:43 HF: Right, no question about it. But it’s interesting, the millennials actually want to be very good parents, whereas the generation above them wants to have a very fine marriage but is not as focused on being a good parent. You see all of these nuances.

17:57 There’s two basic parts of personality: there’s your culture — everything you grew up to do and believe and say — and there’s your temperament. Basically, what I’ve been talking about is your temperament. And that temperament is certainly going to change with changing times and changing beliefs.

18:12 And in terms of the paradox of choice, there’s no question about it that this is a pickle. There were millions of years where you found that sweet boy at the other side of the water hole, and you went for it.

18:24 EP: Yes, but you —

18:25 HF: I do want to say one more thing. The bottom line is, in hunting and gathering societies, they tended to have two or three partners during the course of their lives. They weren’t square! And I’m not suggesting that we do, but the bottom line is, we’ve always had alternatives. Mankind is always — in fact, the brain is well-built to what we call “equilibrate,” to try and decide: Do I come, do I stay? Do I go, do I stay? What are the opportunities here? How do I handle this there? And so I think we’re seeing another play-out of that now.

18:55 KS: Well, thank you both so much. I think you’re going to have a million dinner partners for tonight!

18:59 (Applause)

19:01 Thank you, thank you.



“信誓旦旦,不思其反。反是不思,亦已焉哉!” 两三千年前困惑人们的爱情婚姻问题,现代人依然存在。虽然一夫一妻制和女权概念让现代女性在恋爱和婚姻方面获得了足够的自主权和尊严,但《氓》中所描述的爱情悲剧模式直到现在依然没有什么根本性的改变。几千年的时间,人类的情商好像没有什么明显进化,古人的爱恨情仇,现代人依然一代一代地复制和传承。

虽然,没有 Happy-ending 的爱情有着各自独特的忧伤,但我还是试图去寻求能最大可能实现Happy-ending的爱情的基因。仅为自己的后辈提供一点或许可以参考的建议。其实大部分情况下是烦闷无处可泄才想动笔的。这里说的爱情是指情侣之间的爱情,并非广义上的爱情。


当然,如果从人的动物进化史来看,爱情应该来源于获得满意的交配对象,这需求来源于性欲,性欲是为了繁衍,而繁衍是生命体的本质特征。这样,把爱情定义为获得满意的交配对象我觉得也是可以的。如何才算是满意呢? 也许就是我所定义的爱情的八种基因。


“乘彼垝垣,以望复关。不见复关,泣涕涟涟。既见复关,载笑载言。尔卜尔筮,体无咎言。以尔车来,以我贿迁。” 虽然我们可以看出女子和氓刚开始的恋爱还是很幸福的,彼此相互关注、吸引,甚至性爱,我们根据诗文的描述无法了解氓的想法,也许这本就不是爱情却发展到了婚姻,悲剧在所难免;当然,也许当初他们是有真正的爱情。没有结婚前爱情带给两个人幸福,然而结婚后爱情消逝,彼此陷入痛苦。所以,婚姻的幸福虽然以真正的爱情为基础,但还决定于很多其它因素。这些因素有:爱情的持久性,双方的家庭环境和各自的生活环境。这其中最重要的应该是爱情的持久性。



人为什么会变? 身体会变,因为生命体有生老病死,旦夕祸福;心态和价值观会变,因为生活环境和经历积累在变。生活环境为什么会变?因为人在变,而且人在不断改变生活环境。那什么样的变化会让爱情保鲜,或者说促进爱情的发展?根据爱情的定义,这个问题可以转换为:如何让双方对彼此的八大情感越来越强烈呢 ?我认为从三个方向去努力吧。首先,需要彼此弄清楚双方的价值观和彼此的真实感觉,谈恋爱的时候就要弄清楚这些问题。这可是需要认真的对待啊,不要那么虚幻和天真,没有无缘无故的爱哦。其次,不同的人对待环境的改变态度会不一样,因为知识结构和认知能力不一样。有的人面临环境的改变,价值观和心态依然不会变。所以,恋爱对象有比较成熟的价值观和丰富的知识结构的话,其对待恋爱对象的态度就越稳定。最后,如果恋爱双方都能与时俱进,相互学习,共同进步,时刻保持价值观的一致性,对爱情的长久发展也是很好的。不过,悲剧的是,爱情或婚姻中往往只有一个人在改变或进步,两个人的价值观终究会相去甚远,沟通合作困难。当然,为了家庭生活的和谐圆满,我们可以通过学习相互包容和关怀来抵消观念上的不一致,毕竟,爱情变成了亲情。不过,很多婚姻中的夫妇好像也没有成为亲人。