When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View

Think Like a Freak

Think Like a Freak

One of the many ways to look at relationships is through the lens of economics, as I did in the posts “Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner” and “Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?”.

Hooking Up Smart has a look at the Freakonomics view on quitting relationships. Worth a read, as is the book Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain. Here’s a condensed list of decision factors:

Three primary forces bias us against quitting:

1. A lifetime of being told that quitting is a sign of failure.

2. The notion of sunk costs. As obvious as it sounds, we fail to recognize that previous investment does not justify future investment. I hear this a lot from readers who are thinking about ending their relationships. It’s most prevalent when a couple’s been together a really long time.

3. The failure to identify opportunity cost. When we’re thinking of getting out of a relationship, we have a strong tendency to say to ourselves, “What if I never find someone else?” Instead, we should be asking ourselves what we’re missing out on. Staying in a bad relationship may mean missing out on a great one.

The Formula for Knowing When to Quit:

Quit when opportunity cost outweighs sunk cost. If OC > SC, then break up. If there’s the real potential for something better out there – a relationship you could happily sustain for 50 years, then what you’ve got invested in your current unsatisfactory relationship is immaterial.

This is not to suggest that you should end a satisfying and rewarding relationship. But if you’re not satisfied in your relationship, there’s a good chance that quitting it will make you happier and open you up to something better.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)


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