We Actually Do Prefer Being With Someone Who is Just Like Us, Says Study


A new national poll by Monmouth University is challenging that old adage that opposites attract saying that we actually want to be in a relationship with someone who is just like us!  According to the poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that there is a special person out there who they are meant to be with and that most Americans feel that their ideal mate is someone who is basically similar to themselves – and for most people that means a level-headed decision-maker who will be their best friend.


The poll also shows that, “women who are currently in a relationship (82%) are the most likely to believe in the idea of soulmates. A smaller majority of men in a relationship (64%) feel the same. Among adults who are not currently in a relationship, just over half of women (53%) and just under half of men (47%) say they believe in the idea of soulmates.”


Dr. Gary Lewandowski, professor and chair of psychology at Monmouth University and founder of Scienceofrelationships.com, says, “The research indicates that those who believe in soulmates and destiny, are actually more likely to break up. On the other hand, those who believe that relationships grow over time have more stable relationships and are better at dealing with conflict.”


Here are some other interesting findings from the study:


  • 52% say their partner should be somewhat similar to them while 29% said somewhat different.
  • 51% say their partner should be equally as smart, 26% say slightly smarter, and only 3% said they’d marry someone less smart.
  • When it comes to making decisions 66% rely on their head and 26% make decisions with their gut.
  • 83% consider their partner to be their best friend while 14% say somebody else.


Dr. Lewandowski adds, “Considering your romantic partner to be your best friend is an important component of quality relationships. In fact, when researchers asked couples who have been married over 15 years why their relationship lasted, the top reason was that their partner is their best friend.”  He also says that being more similar helps minimize conflict.


When it comes to political leanings, the poll found partisan divide also impacts how we view our relationships. Self-described Republicans (65%) are more likely than independents (57%) and Democrats (52%) to say they are extremely satisfied with their current relationship. Also, Republicans (91%) are somewhat more likely than independents (78%) and Democrats (83%) to say their partner is their best friend.


“These differences may be attributable to Republican’s placing greater value on marriage. As a result, Republicans may be more motivated to see relationships more positively,” says Dr. Lewandowski.

Study: Millennials Putting Marriage & Family on Hold to Travel

The average age at which Americans marry keeps creeping higher.  According to research from the Pew Research Center, in 1960 the average groom was almost 23, and his bride-to-be just 20.  Fast forward over five decades and the average marriage age has climbed to nearly 29 years for men and 26 and a half years for women.  There’s lots of data supporting the claim that millennials are delaying marriage and one reason is because of money.  It’s not necessarily that they want to save more.  One study points to the fact that young adults prefer spending money on travel than buying a home and are looking to meet new friends rather than settle down in a relationship.


New research from Topdeck Travel, a group travel agency for 18-30 something’s, found that 1 in 6 Millennials actually prefer to travel with their friends than their significant other.  Perhaps it’s because 1 in 10 say it’s easier to plan a trip with their friends than with their sweetie.  If single and looking for love, the study finds that 1 in 11 Millennials are hoping to find their significant other on the road.


It looks like the love of travel trumps the love of marriage.  For those that are in committed relationships, over one third (36%) of Millennials would lower their wedding budget if it meant they could travel around the world.  Even more shocking, 1 in 11 Millennial women would accept a smaller engagement ring to travel more!  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it looks like couples would rather invest in adventure and experiences with their S.O. than the material things. 


But where exactly is this dying urge to travel the world coming from and is it a good idea to put life on hold to explore?  Of course there is much debate about this.  Many say it comes from social media.  It’s widely known that digital connectedness is a must for Millennials and with the media constantly glorifying elaborate vacations, young people are doing all they can do to keep up with others even it means exchanging their savings account to take a fantastic voyage that they can post on Instagram.  That leads us to the question: if social media didn’t exist, would marriage and family still be first place?

> Just How Much Are Couples Spending To Tie The Knot? $32,641

As we head into wedding season, The Knot is out with its annual report of the latest spending habits and trends of weddings in America.  And, it looks like couples are spending an insane amount of money on the big day.


According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 18,000 U.S. brides and grooms, the average wedding cost has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years with couples spending an average $32,641 last year.  That doesn’t include the honeymoon, BTW.  It’s estimated that the biggest increase was on the reception venue (+$1,950), ceremony site (+$652) and the reception band (+545).


No surprise here, that the most expensive place to get married is in the Tri-State area.  Manhattan topped the list with an average wedding cost of $82,299.  Chicago came in second ($61,265) followed by Westchester/Hudson Valley in New York ($57,501), Long Island, New York ($56,950), and North/Central New Jersey ($55,389).  The least expensive place to wed is in Alaska where couples spend an average $17,361.


And the timeline of the average marriage?  Statistics show that the most popular month to get engaged is December (16%) with an average 14.5-month engagement.  More couples are also choosing fall ceremonies with the most popular month to get married being October (17%) and September (15%).



Here are some of the top findings from the study:


  • Average spent on a wedding dress: $1,469. Average spent on the groom’s attire: $269.
  • Average number of wedding guests in 2015: 139 (down from 149 in 2009). But, the cost per wedding guest: $237 (up from $194 in 2009).
  • Couples are spending more on wedding professionals to help them plan a perfect day.  26% of couples hired a planning professional in 2015 (up from 19% in 2010).
  • Parents are still footing the bulk of the bill. The bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget and the groom’s parents contribute 12%.  However, the bride and groom are willing to help by contributing 43% to the cost.
  • Fewer couples are having destination weddings with 21% tying the knot abroad. That’s down from 24% in 2014.
  • Average spent on an engagement ring: $5,871


If the findings have left you with cold feet, there’s always the Little White Chapel, where saying, “I Do”, only costs $75.



>You Can’t Put A Price Tag On Love, But Maybe You Should

It’s true what they say: “You can’t put a price tag on LOVE”. Maybe that’s why guys spend a small fortune on engagement rings. A University of Colorado Boulder study reveals that LOVE causes us to abandon budgets when purchasing sentimental objects for loved ones.


From cupcakes, to engagement rings, the study found that when shopping for such gifts, people will opt for the more expensive option—even when items in question are of the same quality.


In one experiment, when participants were presented two engagement rings—one more expensive with a bigger carat and the other less expensive with a smaller carat—the test subjects almost always chose the more expensive option. Besides passing up the less expensive, people would refrain from seeking out the lower prices all together. They would even avoid negotiating steep price tags!


Lead author of the study and associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder, Peter McGraw, said, “People’s buying behavior changes when they’re making purchases out of love because it feels wrong to engage in cost-saving measures. People abandon cost-saving measures when it comes to sentimental buys because they want to avoid having to decide what is the right amount of money to spend on a loving relationship.” In other words, they can’t put a price tag on their LOVE.


But, just because we’re willing to burn a whole in our wallet for a loved one, doesn’t mean we’ll love them more or less. In fact, a separate study out of Emory University found that men who spent $2,000 to $4,000 on a rock were more likely to wind up divorced than men who spent $500 to $2,000. The same also applies for weddings. Couples who spent more than $20,000 to tie the knot were 3.5 times more likely to split than those who spent under $10,000.


While not putting a price tag on LOVE may seem romantic, if your purchasing outside your means, than you’re just being dumb.


“It’s important to be aware of this tendency not to seek cost savings because, over a lifetime, consumers make many purchases that are symbolic of love – whether for weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries and even potlucks,” said McGraw. “The loss of savings can really add up and put people in compromising financial situations.”


The most common reason for a marriage’s end is financial stress, after all. So spend wisely, Lovebirds…

7 Year Itch? Study: Relationships Start To Lose Sizzle After 1 Year!

Sunset KissYou know that seven-year itch myth? That time in a relationship when the luster starts to fade and we may even start looking at our partners a bit differently? Well, according to a survey of thousands of men and women between 25 and 41, that itch may actually come a lot sooner, like after just 12 months!

The participants were asked about the satisfaction of their sex lives. Their answers revealed that sexual satisfaction rises early in a relationship, peaking at 12 months, which means it’s all downhill from there.

While there’s no clear explanation as to what causes the heat to fizzle, researchers believe as time goes by, differences in sex drive become more apparent. And, by the time a couple clocks 16 years, the study shows couples find their sex lives almost a third less satisfying than they did in the early years.

The German researchers who conducted the study add: “We did not find that having children played a major role in a couple’s sexual satisfaction, which is remarkable as research has shown that sexual frequency is heavily influenced by the existence and age of children.”

The research isn’t that surprising as anyone who has been in a relationship knows, the honeymoon period doesn’t last forever. Those first few months are always the most intense. Desire is strong as new lovers are excited to learn about each other physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually…etc.

So, while the study may suggest sexual intensity may fade, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is on the way out, or a couple should throw in the towel. At the one year mark, couples may have developed a stronger emotional intimacy. The relationship has matured from that “can’t keep my hands off of you” phase to something much more deeper. A lot depends on how that 1st year was spent. If it consisted of nothing but sex and the occasional dinner and a movie, it’s not going to build much of a foundation for a long term relationship. However, if both good and bad experiences were shared, come that one-year mark, the relationship will be stronger.

Psychologist Cary Cooper tells the Daily Mail: “Perhaps over time as the relationship matures, the significance of factors like loyalty, trust, caring, honesty and the value of shared interests, become more important. Sex is still part of the package, but its significance declines as needs mature.’

Should “No Show” Wedding Guest Pay Up for Bailing on Day of the Big Day?

wedding-invitation-1500445With the average cost for a wedding exceeding $30,000, no wonder couples opt for the courthouse ($35 in NYC) or the Little White Chapel (as low as $75) to say “I Do”. But soon-to-be-spouses take their big day very seriously (as they should). In fact, another study shows that many couples are willing to have a ‘red wedding’, meaning, they’re willing to go into debt for it. The Debt Advisory Center surveyed thousands of adults and found that nearly 25% of couples are prepared to go into debt to pay for their wedding and nearly half of those say they immediately regretted borrowing for the big day. Almost 30% of those were still paying off the costs of their wedding SIX YEARS after the ceremony. (Hopefully they’re still together).

So, knowing the costs, when a guest doesn’t show up to one’s wedding as planned, without any notification, a couple may see that as rude and also a huge waste of their money.

That’s the situation in Minnesota. It’s the wedding bill making all the headlines. Wedding guest, Jessica Baker, had intended on attending her friend’s wedding, but at the last minute had to bail because her mother couldn’t watch the kids anymore. And, since kids weren’t allowed at the wedding, she just didn’t go. Fast forward a couple weeks. The ‘no show’ wedding guest got a bill from the newlyweds for $75, asking her to cover the cost of her and her husband’s meals and saying an explanation for the no show, no call, no text, no card would be appreciated.

Baker posted a photo of the ‘bill’ on Facebook, igniting an instant response. Reaction was generally split. It’s easy to see both sides of the case. One wedding planner saying: “Under no circumstances should you choose to follow up after the fact…questioning why they couldn’t attend or much less sending a bill.” wedding-glasses-1425674

Things come up at that last minute, that’s life. Do 100% of the guests who RSVP ‘yes’ to a wedding always come? Probably not. That’s why wedding planners say you should prepare for about 10% of overage or underage when you’re planning a big event.

To the couple’s defense, one could see why they’d be so upset after spending a lot of money on the wedding and then having some guests ditch. Proper etiquette would’ve been to alert the bride, groom or their parents. Baker may simple not have wanted to bother the bride about it on her big day. I’d do the same.

However, forget about being ‘the bride’. If her first concern was that her friend bailed, costing her $75 dollars for a dinner not eaten, instead of “gosh, I hope my friend is okay,” it says a lot about the type of “friend” this bride is. She pretty much put a $75 price tag on their friendship. So, as the guest, I’d be insulted, too.

Baker says she refuses to pay the bill…and forget about a gift or card.

Who’s side do you take?

Lessons From Couples Married 40+ Years

Who better to ask about ‘what makes a marriage work’, than couples who’ve been married (to the same partner) for more than 30 years? A Cornell Gerontologist did just that. For the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, Karl Pillemer surveyed hundreds of individuals collectively married for nearly 40,000 years. The average age of interviewees was 77-years-old and the average length of marriage in the sample was 44 years.

old coupleHere are the top five lessons the elders gave, along with Pillemer’s take (and mine), to have a successful, long-term relationship:

Learn to Communicate: “For a good marriage, the elders overwhelmingly tell us to ‘talk, talk, talk.’ They believe that most marital problems can be solved through open communication, and conversely many whose marriages dissolved blamed lack of communication.”

Any expert will stress the importance of communication within a relationship. You can’t expect your partner to know what you’re thinking and to know what’s bothering you all the time. Speaking up can help prevent a small issue from snowballing into something even bigger.

Get to Know Your Partner Very Well before Marrying: “Many of the elders I surveyed married very young; despite that fact, they recommend the opposite. They strongly advise younger people to wait to marry until they have gotten to know their partner well and have a number of shared experiences.”

You need to see the person in their best, in their worst, how they handle stressful situations, family, friends…etc. In addition, they advise never get married expecting to be able to change your partner.

Treat Marriage as an Unbreakable, Lifelong Commitment: “Rather than seeing marriage as a voluntary partnership that lasts only as long as the passion does, the elders propose a mindset in which it is a profound commitment to be respected, even if things go sour over the short term. Many struggled through dry and unhappy periods and found ways to resolve them.”

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. That should be the thought process going into it. This is the person you are deciding to spend the rest of your life with. That’s why #2 is so important…make sure you REALLY know the person before you tie the knot.

Learn to Work as a Team: “The elders urge us to apply what we have learned from our lifelong experiences in teams – in sports, in work, in the military – to marriage. Concretely, this viewpoint involves seeing problems as collective to the couple, rather than the domain of one partner. Any difficulty, illness, or setback experienced by one member of the couple is the other partner’s responsibility.”

Remember, you’re no longer an I, you’re now a WE. What’s their problem and what’s their success, is now your problem and your success.

Chose a Partner Who is Very Similar to You: “Marriage is difficult at times for everyone, the elders assert, but it’s much easier with someone who shares your interests, background, and orientation. The most critical need for similarity is in core values regarding potentially contentious issues like child-rearing, how money should be spent, and religion.”

And, likely politics these days. However, having different interests can be good, as it helps you maintain some individuality. And, if you’re open, different interests gives each person something new to learn and share with the other.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my parents, aunts and uncles (who have collectively been married hundreds of years) is that you simply love the other person so much, you can’t imagine a life without them.

Sure, older people may not know what Twitter or a selfie is and how to ‘snapchat’, but they can sure teach us a lot about life and love, if only we’d listen.

Click for more on the study and for more on Professor Pillemer and his book “30 Lessons for Loving”

How Not To Let A Bachelorette Party Trip Cost You Your Friends

vegas signWedding season is nearly here and you know what that means? You’ll be shelling out lots of money for gifts, travel and the events that come with it. The cost just to attend a wedding is now averaging $592 a guest according to American Express. One other BIG expense that often burdens the friends of the bride: the bachelorette party trip.

Gone are the days when these parties just involved an endless night of bar hopping, blowjob shots, lap dances and crazy shenanigans you promise to take to your grave. It’s now almost expected the bride or groom-to-be will want to plan an entire weekend or big trip with friends before the big day.

Travel website priceline.com conducted a new survey on the rising costs and pressures of the bachelor(ette) party trips. After polling thousands of adults who attended at least one bachelor or bachelorette party in the past five years, results show these party trips can take a major toll on wallets and friendships!

Here is what they found:

45% had to SKIP a party due to the cost of the bachelor(ette) trip
32% spent upwards of $850 or more on a party trip
30% felt pressure to stay in a luxury hotel to appease the bride or groom
29% said deciding on where to go caused the most drama
14% were kicked out of a wedding party for not attending the party

As psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig points out, these new bridal trends of the destination bachelorette trip creates a new norm, and as a result there’s an additional pressure to have an event that “measures” up or even out does what other people are doing.

girls w drinksWhile the big day may be all about the couple, the bachelorette party is supposed to celebrate the friendships. After all, it’s the last chance to hang out with your group of friends without those matrimonial responsibilities. That said, it’s important to keep friends in mind when planning. Some may not be able to afford what others can, take the time off from work, or your friends may have other responsibilities (like children) that prevents them from going on a party trip.

The study also finds that besides picking a destination, deciding how to cover the bride’s expenses caused just as much drama among the guests. A time that’s meant to celebrate a happy couple’s union can easily turn into a contentious situation.

Remember, the most important part of the bachelorette party is having those who love and care for you there to celebrate a very special time in your life, says Kristen Rocco, founder of Love Notery. “Creating long-lasting memories is what it’s all about.”

So ask yourself, is it more important to have something more feasible where all your best girls can attend? Or, an ultra-extravagant party that not everyone can attend but will still look really cool on Instagram?

More on Fox News Magazine

-Ashley M. Papa

Study: Better To Settle With Mr. Okay, Than Wait For Mr. Perfect


It’s better to settle for mediocre than wait for a Grade A mate, says this study from Michigan State University.

Ready for the explanation?

Researchers find that instead of holding out for someone who makes you 100% happy, it makes more sense to go for someone who fits in your needs and goals. Primitive humans were likely forced to bet on whether or not they could find a better mate. They could either choose to mate with the first, potentially inferior, companion and risk inferior offspring, or they could wait for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect to come around.

Another obvious reason, if people choose to wait, they risk never being with anyone and never having children. The researchers add that in the hopes of finding someone better, we should not forget about those who might be compatible enough.

Waiting for something better to come along and not settling for less than you deserve are different things. If the person you’re with isn’t making you happy, aren’t you better off just being alone? It is understandable that the longer you wait, the greater the chances of never being with anyone, but it still shouldn’t mean you should settle; because we all know what happens with unhappy couples…infidelity & more problems!

Women (and men) are often told to lower their standards if they want to find someone. There’s nothing wrong with being picky. People should be picky. But it’s not about lowering standards; it is about realizing what it is you really need that will make you happy, long-term. A good looking partner, who drives a hot car and maybe owns a house in the Hamptons isn’t really what will make you happy in the end. It’s about being with someone who treats you with respect, is fun, loyal, caring and anything else that is just non-negotiable for you.

This is the person you are going to spend THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITH! Don’t you want them to be at least the majority perfect in your eyes? Who goes into a marriage thinking “he’s aight, it’s either him or possibly no one”?

I hear from many couples that it wasn’t until later on in the relationship, that they realized the person they were with, really was their Mr./Mrs. Perfect. So if Mr./Mrs. Okay doesn’t become your Mr./Mrs. Perfect, maybe it’s time to start looking for that greener grass. Aight?

Ashley M. Papa

How Many Guys Actually Cheat At Their Bachelor Parties?

As if the stress of the big day isn’t enough. Now, women need to worry about their fiancés being unfaithful at their bachelor parties.

That’s according to this recent survey that says one-third of all grooms-to-be cheat at their bachelor parties.

The survey also found that 92% of men lie about their cheating for the duration of their marriage. That’s because an overwhelming majority of women don’t approve of the guidelines set by men at their bachelor parties. One woman saying “If I found out my ex cheated, there would be no wedding.”

And, since cheating is viewed differently by the sexes, men may not even consider their bachelor party shenanigans cheating, especially if they claim to have been so drunk. (always an excuse)

As one sex therapist puts it: “Men cheat on a physical level, not an emotional level. They see it as a final hurrah to the single life before they make this huge commitment. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their fiancés.”

Ugh…“A final hurrah in the single life”? If you’re about to get married, you’re not single! And seriously?… “It doesn’t mean they don’t love their fiances”? If you love someone, why would you hurt and go behind their back by cheating?

And to the brides-to-be, if you have concerns that your guy is going to be unfaithful right before he enters into marriage, you may need to reconsider who you are marrying.

Ashley M. Papa