I spend a good portion of my day reading and writing about relationships. More specifically, reading and writing-up psychological studies about relationships. This entails everything from why men cheat, to how porn affects divorce rates, to exactly how many orgasms are women really having (apparently not enough ladies, get with it!).
Anyway all of this "scientific" research (is psychology science? We'll never know) combined with the fact that I live with and interact with humans on a daily basis has led me to consider myself an "expert" on relationships.
Side note: "expert" is in quotations because, come on, we all know relationship experts are a joke. However that will not stop me from imparting my wisdom onto you, my eager and willing audience.
So after dozens of studies read, countless of articles written, a slew of bad dates, thousands of OkCupid messages ignored, tens of thousands of Tinder swipes, and one honest-to-goodness love I can tell you I have found the one piece of dating / relationship / love / marriage advice you will ever need. Here it is:
Don't be a douchebag.
1. Studies have shown that when a wife falls ill, her husband is more likely to divorce her -- you know because it puts a "stress" on the relationship. But if the husband falls ill, the wife will stick around to take care of him. Don't do this. If your S.O. is sick, help them. Don't be a douchebag.
2. It is estimated that around 25 to 40% of people cheat on their spouse. Listen, I know views on monogamy are changing (Is it even natural? Did it really play a part in evolution? Why does no one know?!!!) but the reality is, if you made a commitment to be monogamous -- stick to it. Otherwise, don't commit. Don't be a douchebag.
3. Experts agree that when one person has all the power, the relationship can become toxic -- because duh, one person is deciding everything and the other person feels worthless. Huge douchebag move. Don't do it.
4. If your S.O has friends of the opposite sex, don't get jealous all the time and try to sabotage their platonic relationships. It will force them into an ultimatum between you and them -- and that makes you a mean jelly belly douchebag.
5. If your partner needs a ride to or from the airport, pick them up. If they need help on a project help them. If they need to complain about their mom listen to them. If they need space give it to them. If they need a hug, comfort them. If they need a shot, pour two. These are common human needs, be there for them, make them feel loved and don't be a douchebag.
6. Studies show that when wives get stuck doing all the housework they're really unhappy (yeah, no shit). In fact there's a phrase for this called "second shift" because women have to work "9 to 5" then come home and do more "work"-- putting them on a 24/7 schedule. So come on folks, don't be a douchebag, share the labor.
7. It is also estimated around 40 million people are in a sexless marriage (yikes!). While finding a source for that number is next to impossible, I'm still rewriting it here because, the number doesn't really matter. What matters is, if you aren't having sex with your S.O you're being a douchebag. Either that or your S.O. is a douchebag you don't want to have sex with. Either way someone is being a douchebag.
8. Don't forget important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. On the flip side don't be that person that's like "OMG it's our sixteen-and-a-half month anniversary," because that's an equally douchebag move.
9. Don't criticize your S.O. all the time! It makes me cringe when I hear couples insult each other in front of other people (not in the joking way, but in the "we're so gonna have a talk about this later way"). You're supposed to be each other's biggest cheerleaders -- so don't be a douchebag, CHEER!
10. Don't lie to your parter. Lying sucks, it makes the person being lied to feel really stupid (trust me, I know). In fact, studies show that when cheaters come clean, their partners are more likely to forgive them. See, a lot of times it's less about the cheating and more about the lying, because once you lie all sense of trust is lost. Which makes you an untrustworthy douchebag and makes the relationship sit on thin ice for the rest of its most-likely-short existence.
11. Don't be mean to other people. Yeah I mean family members, friends, wait staff, bartenders, random other douchebags in bars. Being mean to those people is proof that at some point you can turn on your S.O. and be mean to them too. That makes you a douchebag in sheep's clothing.
12. Just. Don't. Be. A douchebag. Be a human being. Be kind, considerate, loving and open. Recognize the fact that you chose to enter a relationship (or go on a date, or get married, or whatever). It was a choice you made -- so either enjoy it and be a wonderful, decent human being or get out because frankly you're doing the other person a favor ... saving them from yet another douchebag, YOU!