The principle of least interest and what it means for your relationship.
Recently I encountered a relationship situation that brought to mind the principle of least interest and what it telegraphs about relationships where one partner is far more interested than the other. It’s an old theory, originating in 1938 with a sociologist named Waller. He noted that when one relationship partner is more emotionally invested in the relationship than the other, the less involved partner has more power in the relationship.
Of course, sometimes a relationship starts with one partner being more interested in the relationship than the other (at the beginning, partners often move at different paces in their emotional involvement with one another). More problematic is that situation where one person is really not all that interested in a romantic relationship with the other (or has lost interest), and deep down knows this is unlikely to change. This person is the least interested (LI), and they have the power to define the relationship on their terms. The LI sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, exploits the most interested (MI), who accepts higher relationship costs to keep the LI from walking away. For example, I once knew a MI person who desired a monogamous relationship. As a condition of staying, their LI partner required they accept a polyamorous relationship. Mongeau and his colleagues (2013) found that in many cases “friends with benefits” relationships often involved a MI partner that accepted the arrangement in the hopes it would become more serious.
The imbalanced MI/LI relationship can last for a while. The LI often doesn’t want to give up the many benefits delivered by the MI. The LI rationalizes by emphasizing that they’ve been honest with the MI and the MI has chosen to accept their relationship terms. Sometimes the LI is truly ambivalent and doesn’t want to cut the MI loose in case they change their mind. Because the LI stays, and there are occasional hints of romance, the MI remains hopeful. They give, sacrifice and compromise themselves. But this is also the MI’s power: Their willingness to take what they can get, when they can get it, and their generosity towards the LI, make it harder for the LI to cut them lose.
Waller (1938) argued that in the long run, relationships like these are usually unhealthy. I agree. The MI eventually feels resentful about being taken for granted and taken advantage of, and hurt that they have to sacrifice and compromise themselves to keep the LI. The LI may feel angry or resentful about being manipulated into staying. They may feel guilty about receiving more relationship benefits than the MI, and about how their lessened interest hurts the MI. Sprecher and her colleagues (2006) found partners in these unequal relationships were less satisfied than couples where both partners were equally invested, and that MI/LI relationships were more likely to end.
I’ve been on both sides of this dynamic and I suppose if I were to offer some tough advice it might be that if you’re the LI, and your lack of interest or ambivalence persists, the right thing to do is to end the relationship so that the most interested can recover and go on to find a more satisfactory relationship. Yes, you can rationalize that it’s the MI’s choice to accept the relationship as you define it. But at some level you probably recognize that perhaps you’re taking advantage because you like the adoration, the “treats,” and having a relationship in your back pocket in case you decide you want it later.
If you’re the MI, you should recognize that your dignity and self-respect are high prices to pay to get the LI to be in a relationship with you; that’s not what healthy relationships are made of. Holding on also keeps you from finding a healthier relationship, where you don’t have to compromise yourself. You might also think about whether it’s unfair of you to make it so hard for the LI to leave and whether you’re manipulating to get them to stay. When it’s increasingly obvious that the odds of it turning into what you want it to be aren’t in your favor, it’s really best to cut your losses and move on. Then of course, there’s always therapy. If you seem to have a pattern of being the MI in your relationships, you may need to explore why you end up in relationships with reluctant or unavailable partners and are prone to this type of imbalanced relationship.
Woman Says She Accidentally Married her Cousin While Pregnant With his Baby
A Utah woman recently revealed that she accidentally married her cousin.
Marcella Hill is her 41-year-old business owner from Utah, USA. Recently, she posted a video on TikTok about her and her husband’s reality.
She said she and her husband were expecting a baby and searched the internet for baby names.
“I was sitting on the couch looking for names for the baby that we were about to have and I was on [genealogy site] FamilySearch,” she said in her now-viral TikTok video.
“I saw this line and it’s the same as mine. So I was like, ‘Oh, you’re still logged into my account,'” she added. It turns out that Grandpa is Grandma’s first cousin.”
The TikTok influencer said her grandfather was her husband’s grandmother’s cousin, making her third cousin of the two.
“I married my cousin by mistake,” Marcela said with a laugh in the video.
The couple also called their grandparents to confirm their suspicions, and it turned out they were right.
“Of course, certainly. They grew up together as children,” she said. “We (Marcella and her husband) are third cousins.”
Marcela also revealed that she and her husband won the “Nearest Relatives” award for her neighborhood activism.
She concluded the video by saying, “If I go to a family reunion, he can go to him at the same time.”
Marcella’s TikTok videos of hers have so far received over 937,000 views of her on the platform, with over 90,000 likes and her over 1,300 comments.
“Third cousin is no big deal. You’re good but hilarious,” one user commented on her video.
She wrote, “All right, Cousins 3. Grades,” she wrote second. “So, in a way, your baby is his own fourth cousin to her,” was her third comment.
“Don’t say you’re from Utah, just say you’re from Utah,” added another. “Why didn’t you notice at the wedding?” someone asked.
Marcella made another video to answer her last comment, stating:
“Wedding? What a wedding! We got married at the courthouse on Wednesday after work,” she told her followers.
“Let’s say there is our wedding and Grandpa and Grandma are there and it turns out that we are third cousins at the wedding. What do we do?” she asked rhetorically.
“Maybe that’s why we need a wedding,” she wrote in a comment. “Court on Wednesday? Sounds like a nice cousin,” he joked.
“If you had a wedding, it would have been like a fellowship,” added another.
Share Your Thoughts:
What are your thoughts on this woman’s story? Let us know in the comments.
Spark More Love in Your Marriage: Be Intentional with 3 Simple Actions
Love in a marriage is not always easy and it can change over time. It’s important to remember that maintaining love in a marriage requires ongoing effort and a commitment to making the relationship a priority. Love is a vital component of a successful marriage. In a loving marriage, partners feel a deep connection and affection for one another, and make a commitment to supporting and caring for each other
- Communicate effectively: Make sure to actively listen to your partner and express your own thoughts and feelings clearly. Set aside dedicated time for open and honest conversations.
- Show appreciation and affection: Take the time to show your partner that you care through small gestures of love and affection. This can be as simple as a compliment, a hug, or a thoughtful surprise.
- Make time for fun and shared interests: Make sure to schedule regular date nights and find activities that you both enjoy. This will help keep the spark alive and strengthen your bond.
A successful marriage is one in which both partners feel fulfilled and satisfied in their relationship. Key factors in a successful marriage include:
- Strong communication: Both partners should be able to effectively communicate their thoughts, feelings, and needs to one another.
- Trust and honesty: Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and honesty is crucial in building and maintaining that trust.
- Flexibility and adaptability: A successful marriage requires the ability to adapt to changes and challenges, and to be flexible in finding solutions.
- Shared values and goals: Having a shared sense of purpose and values can help couples navigate difficult times and stay united.
- Love and commitment: A successful marriage is built on a deep and enduring love, and a commitment to making the relationship work.
- Emotional and physical intimacy: A healthy emotional and physical intimacy helps to strengthen the bond between partners.
- Shared interests and activities: Having shared interests and engaging in activities together can help to keep the relationship strong and enjoyable.
What will happen to a marriage full of lies and deceit?
Marriage – the union of two souls, a beautiful yet challenging journey, one’s greatest strength and worst fear. Marriage can have one of her two effects in your life: happy or regretful. There are many good examples of happy marriages, but there are also many toxic examples of some of the worst marriages.
It depends a lot on how the two of you choose to relate to each other emotionally and physically. There are many important factors involved here. But one of the biggest problems in marriage is cheating. When deception comes in, faith goes away
Trust is the most important part of any relationship in life. Every friendship, every family relationship, every love is built on a solid foundation of trust. And when that bond of trust is damaged or broken, the emotional integrity held together by that same trust is shaken and broken in the process.
Cheating in a marriage destroys the marriage in many ways. Either or both partners may engage in deception, and once started, there is unfortunately no turning back. This article is intended for people who do not participate in deception and are only on the receiving end.
What to do if you are in a cheating marriage If you are in a deceitful marriage, we send you our sincere apologies. It is truly traumatic to give your partner all your time, attention, emotions, life, and plans for the future and be left with nothing.
But there is also a bright side to this dark story. This is not the end. It’s just the beginning. Humans are by nature designed to fix things, so the first thing you can do is see if you can fix things. The next and most important step is to thank life for showing you the truth and guard your heart.
Your emotions matter. It’s more important than you can imagine. And if they are reciprocated and unappreciated, you will be much better off without that toxic person.
You deserve the best
You deserve someone who understands you inside and out. We all need someone to be ourselves, to be weird, to be with, who never judges us or makes us feel weak.
Being in a toxic marriage doesn’t mean it’s the end for your future. Your future holds things you will never understand. Be grateful and walk away with emotional integrity.
Have you ever had an affair or a toxic marriage?