How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love Highlights

by Logan Ury

“Maximizers make good decisions and end up feeling bad about them. Satisficers make good decisions and end up feeling good.”

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That means that by the age of 26.1, he should set a meaningful benchmark from his first 8.1 years of dating—that is, the single best person he’s dated thus far. He should then marry the next person he meets whom he likes more than that benchmark.

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Now she realizes that her lack of experience complicates her search for a good match: “I missed out on experimentation. I don’t know my likes and dislikes. And now it feels a lot harder to find a partner without that information

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As we discussed earlier, once you commit to something, your brain starts the magical process of rationalization, convincing you that you made a good choice.

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Some babies showed signs of distress as soon as their mother left. When she returned, these babies would be temporarily soothed and stop crying but then angrily push the mother away and begin crying again. Ainsworth called these babies “anxiously attached.” Another group of babies cried when their mother left but stopped as soon as she returned. They quickly resumed playing. These were the “securely attached” babies.

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In reality, 50 percent of the population is secure, 20 percent is anxiously attached, 25 percent is avoidantly attached, and the remainder fall into a group called anxious-avoidant.

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I’m lucky to count the brilliant couples therapist Esther Perel as a mentor.

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(Coincidentally, the effect reverses for women on oral birth control. Things can get awkward when a couple marries, the woman goes off birth control, and suddenly, she’s attracted to different people.)

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Here’s the key: It’s fine to have different interests, so long as the time you spend pursuing your favorite activities doesn’t preclude you from investing in the relationship.

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“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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The first step in fighting well is understanding that there are two types of problems in relationships: solvable problems and perpetual ones—unsolvable, permanent features of your partnership. John Gottman discovered that 69 percent of all relationship conflicts are perpetual

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The goal is not to convince each other to change or even to come to an agreement—it’s to find a productive way to live with this difference.

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“When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.”

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A great long-term partner is loyal, kind, and emotionally stable, a person with whom you can grow, make hard decisions, and fight constructively.

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Most of us have no idea what kind of partner will fulfill us long term.

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Black-and-white photos kill. Despite making up only 3 percent of posted photos, they see a 106 percent boost in likes.

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Good opening lines are (again) specific.

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Get in a line, any line. People in lines are inherently bored. Even a momentary distraction—like a conversation with you—is welcome.

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My favorite podcast is called Good One.

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You can find a whole list of creative date ideas on my website (

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You might even enjoy stealing this idea for a “day of yes” from a friend of mine. She explained: “We went on a date in which we took turns suggesting our next move and the other person had to say yes (unless illegal or against their values).

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Playing games involves deceit and misdirection. It’s a waste of time, because your love interest will discover at some point who you really are, and then what?

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“To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” Mandy Len Catron highlights the power of thought-provoking questions. On a date, Catron and her companion answered thirty-six questions, which escalated in intensity and intimacy

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It’s like this quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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Give the other person a meaningful compliment before you head your separate ways.

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The Post-Date Eight

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What side of me did they bring out? How did my body feel during the date? Stiff, relaxed, or something in between? Do I feel more energized or de-energized than I did before the date? Is there something about them I’m curious about? Did they make me laugh? Did I feel heard? Did I feel attractive in their presence? Did I feel captivated, bored, or something in between?

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Don’t pursue the wrong relationship because you met the “right” way.

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The important thing to remember is that its absence doesn’t predict failure, and its presence doesn’t guarantee success.

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As my mathematician client said to me once, “The spark is neither necessary nor sufficient for long-term relationship happiness.”

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Do not judge others the way you would not want to be judged.

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Situation: She made a bad joke during dinner. Fundamental-attribution mode: She has a cheesy sense of humor and we’re not compatible. Compassion mode: She was nervous and tried to make me laugh.

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Other examples of dealbreakers include: One of you wants monogamy, the other doesn’t believe in it. One of you has very old-fashioned views about gender roles in relationships, the other believes in a different balance. You smoke and aren’t willing to quit, and the other person has serious asthma.

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“Hey [insert name]. I really enjoyed talking about [insert conversation topic]. I don’t think we’re a romantic match, but I enjoyed meeting you.”

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We’re prone to the fundamental-attribution error—our tendency to believe someone’s actions reflect who they are rather than their circumstances.

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(Rushing to DTR is common among anxiously attached folks. Revisit Chapter 6 for a refresher.)

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Decide, don’t slide.

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They think, If this person were really my soul mate, it wouldn’t be so hard.

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You can find a blank Breakup Contract on my website—

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Don’t be “nice” just to make yourself feel better. Give them space to move on. KEY TAKEAWAYS When you’ve decided you want to break up with someone, it’s time to make a plan.

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Couples who wait one to two years before getting engaged are 20 percent less likely to get divorced than those who wait

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Couples who wait one to two years before getting engaged are 20 percent less likely to get divorced than those who wait under a year before putting a ring on it. Couples

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They’re so fond of each other that they assume the other person wants the same things in life; therefore, they don’t set aside the time to talk explicitly about major decisions like where to live or if they want children.

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In a relationship, we take it for granted that our partner sees the world the same way we do—and therefore wants the same things, whether it’s how many kids to have or where to live or how to spend or save money.

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“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

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This is absolutely not a time to dwell on your partner’s shortcomings; nor is it the moment to make demands.

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“The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life. Relationships are your story, write well, and edit often.”

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Esther Perel, your visionary work paved the way for this book. From our first conversation about my parents, to our chat about having children, you’ve added depth, complexity, and wisdom to my life. You inspire me. To John and Julie Gottman, the original “relationship masters,” thank you for both your mentorship and your contributions to the field. My bond with Scott is stronger because we attended your workshop so early on in our relationship.

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