5 Ways You Sabotage Your Love Life (Explained by Science)

#2. Your First Relationship Was Amazing

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Puppy love may have a cute name, but it could completely mess you up. It turns out that, before you even had a grasp on what being in a relationship meant, you were already scarred for life.

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She's sizing him up against that fling she had in preschool.

The surprising part is that we're not even talking about bad first relationships ... it's the good ones that eventually turn you into a romance wrecking ball. As one helpful researcher put it, "Remarkably, it seems that the secret to long-term happiness in a relationship is to skip a first relationship. In an ideal world, you would wake up already in your second relationship." Thanks for the help. It also turns out that the best way to avoid lung cancer is to not have lungs.

The problem is that everything going on in your life at a given time will affect your relationship. And since most people meet their "first love" when they are relatively young and don't have the sort of responsibility and aggravations that they do when they get older, it is hard for any future relationship to measure up. If your first relationship was passionate and carefree, you could expect every subsequent relationship to live up to that one, but chances are that none will. After all, when you first start dating as a teenager, you haven't quite reached the stage of life where something as simple as an empty milk carton in the fridge can result in open gunfire.

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He's all smiles now, but tomorrow he's getting an assfull of breakfast buckshot.

The idea of a purely emotion-based relationship gets lost as you get older and life starts tarnishing your actions and perspective. Researchers have found that if you use your first happy-go-lucky relationship as the template for what later, more adult, and more difficult relationships should be like, you will never be happy. So keep in mind that long-term relationships require a lot of work and aren't all about copping a feel in the janitor's closet during band practice. And if you're an adult, the latter will likely get you thrown in jail.

#1. You Believe the TV

Warner Bros. Television

We've already told you how romantic comedies are bad for you, but to recap: Romantic movies only concentrate on the beginning of a relationship, the time when everything is sex and love bombing and breaking up James Marsden's marriages, but it's OK because the main characters were totally meant to be together. A study of 40 popular rom-coms found that they constantly repeat the same themes; specifically, that your partner should be able to know what you're thinking without you actually saying anything. But because you're not psychic and life lacks an expository voice-over to keep everyone filled in, this trope can negatively affect actual relationships, which is why I hired a professional voice-over guy to follow me around 24/7.

And while it usually has less overt messages than romantic movies, it turns out that TV is just as bad for your relationship, even in shows that aren't specifically about couples. You might have never watched a rom-com in your life, but seeing relationships that are unlike your own on television can just as easily give you an unrealistic version of what being with someone is like. No matter what genre of TV show, there is usually a partner around who sorts things out when your wacky hijinks just get too darn zany. The problem occurs when you start to see these relationships as normal.

Warner Bros. Television
They can't be there for you ... they don't exist.

Fat, moderately funny men with blue collar jobs don't usually get to marry stunningly attractive housewives. Criminals don't often have borderline-supermodel women back home who will help them conceal their crimes. And according to at least one study, if you connect most to shows that happen to have some romantic storylines, you are less likely to work at your relationships and more likely to believe that if you left your partner you would find a more attractive and more amiable person out there. Just the act of watching television could be the reason you never have any relationships that last and why you're so disappointed that your dog can't talk or write its own blog.

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"Oh, I talk. Just not to you, you testicle-stealing son of a bitch."

So try to think positive: Once you overcome all these obstacles and are finally with someone, remember that you probably can't do any better. That ... sounded a lot nicer in my head.

Kathy wrote a very funny book, and you can buy it here and here.

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