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The Advice Goddess: March 2020
Wednesday, 04 March 2020 00:01

Wane's world

I have a challenging job I love, and lately, it’s really cutting into my time with my boyfriend. I tell him how much I hate this, but he’s been very understanding. Initially, this was great, but now I’m annoyed that he seems fine with seeing less of me. Is it ridiculous I’m upset he isn’t acting more upset that I’m not around as much?

— Disturbed

 

Poets and lyricists often describe love as a medical issue: Love hurts! Love is blind! Love lies bleeding! It goes a little far, however, to give it a traumatic brain injury: Love is comatose.

But maybe that isn’t what’s going on for your boyfriend. Maybe you’re just prone to suspect his love is waning. Research by evolutionary psychologists Martie Haselton and David Buss suggests humans evolved to be imperfect thinkers -- to have distorted perceptions when we have to make “judgments under uncertainty.” These are guesses we make when we lack access to some or all of the facts.

Haselton and Buss explain that recurring mating and survival issues over human history have led us to make protective errors -- overperceiving or underperceiving elements in our physical and social environments. We err in our thinking in whichever way would be the least costly to us: overestimating or underestimating.

Because women are the babymakers of the species, it’s a big costly error for a woman to believe a man will commit — stick around and dad — when he’s really just a “sex it ’n’ exit” cad. So, women err on side of “commitment underperception” — underestimating men’s level of commitment. 

Even if a man actually is committed, a woman’s going all hurt feelz that he isn’t might lead him to reassure her with increased shows of devotion: cuddling, romantic dinners, the (ethically sourced!) Hope Diamond Jr.

Consider whether there’s any real evidence your boyfriend’s love and commitment are waning or whether your emotions are playing evolutionary lap dog. 

When someone really loves you, they show it by making sacrifices for you — like by supporting your need for unimpeded time and energy when the job you love gets more demanding than usual. 

Your boyfriend seems really accommodating, so let him know if what would really make you happy is a jealous, demanding manchild who sneaks out in the middle of the night with a big tub of Crisco and greases all the rungs on the ladder of success.

(c.) 2020, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (advicegoddess.com). 


 



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