Risk plays a major role in relationships. They don’t just have an impact on relationships that already exist, but also ones that have yet to be born. Specifically, risk can quell those ambitions to find the perfect mate, a new Michigan State University study finds. It means selecting someone who is available rather than someone who is absolutely perfect and fits every nuance and category that the individual is looking to fill in a mate. As the science often does, the study strips down relationships to their basic, biological roots. Meaning, when a person makes a choice to be with someone – they’re left with two basic options.
They can settle for the person who is in front of them – who is likely more inferior than a potentially better match – that could still be lurking out there. The other option would be for the person to take the opposite approach – and hold out for the best person out there – likely turning down many somewhat suitable candidates in the meantime. Conventional wisdom suggests, as well as science for that matter, that holding out for the best possible mate.
Interestingly though, this risk theory varies by the size of the population that the individual is immersing itself in. Specifically, the authors of the study, as well as many individuals who have evaluated the research are pointing to the fact that many people live in very large communities, or at the very least have larger social circles which would make finding a mate easier, plus make finding the perfect mate even easier. However, much of our behavior is tied to evolution, and as the authors of the study found – really we have only been living in large communities, and maintaining large social circles for a short period of time – in relation to the length of the existence of humanity.
Another factor though that doesn’t get as much talk time is the advent of social networks. The Internet and social networks make connecting, and reconnecting much easier – and it makes people more available. Combine that with the addition of dating websites and what you’re left with is a lot more options for people who previously didn’t have them – and that theory of risk aversion might be more outdated than the results of this study show.