Relationships are founded on trust, and their quality depends on both parties feeling secure. That’s why any relationship where one party is constantly jockeying for the upper hand is doomed.
A relationship-oriented person is one who lacks cynicism and is not afraid to be vulnerable. He or she does not invest time in appearing to be the least interested party – to gain the upper hand. There are (at least) four good ways of identifying someone secure enough to risk emotional intimacy:
1. How does he make you feel?
How your partner (in love, crime, or business) should make you feel.
Source: Jessica Hagey, Indexed
2. How readily does he trust others?
From a recent study on trust:
People were asked how much they trust others on a scale of 1 to 10. Income peaked at those who responded with the number 8.
Those with the highest levels of trust had incomes 7% lower than the 8′s. Research shows they are more likely to be taken advantage of.
Those with the lowest levels of trust had an income 14.5% lower than 8′s. That loss is the equivalent of not going to college. They missed many opportunities by not trusting.
It stands to reason that the chumps who trust indiscriminately would wind up making less money, because they don’t adequately anticipate sabotage or unethical tactics from bad actors.
But I find it somewhat surprising that the most cynical do poorly, because they generally spend so much time looking out for #1. Perhaps their lack of likability hinders career success.
Clearly, the winners are those who are fairly trusting of others, which is very much in line with the work of Adam Grant, who has found that the most successful people in business are those who are most giving of their time and assistance to colleagues. These folks are the ones who build the best working relationships and earn the most gratitude. Grant finds some chumps among these folks as well:
Givers, Grant says, are overrepresented at both ends of the spectrum of success: they are the doormats who go nowhere or burn out, and they are the stars whose giving motivates them or distinguishes them as leaders.
Grant found that those with a healthy amount of self-interest became stars, while the doormats were taken advantage of.
3. Is he a carrier of Factor P?
A new study looks at the factors correlated with the propensity to cheat among unmarried couples. This just keeps getting easier and easier.
P = Promiscuity
The big three:
- Number of previous sex partners
- Alcohol use
- Parents never married
Interestingly, there was no increased incidence of cheating based on any of the following:
- Having divorced parents
4. Is he capable of self-control?
Research has found that some people are more capable of remaining faithful than others, depending on their level of cognitive function:
- The ability to deliberately restrain from acting on dominant or automatic responses
- The ability to shift between several tasks, operations, or mental sets
- The coding and monitoring of relevant information in working memory
The finding of three separate studies:
Romantically involved people with a higher level of cognitive control experience less difficulty in staying faithful to their partners and— when being confronted with an attractive other—show less relationship-threatening behavior. Additionally, they have a greater tendency to prevent themselves from being con- fronted with an attractive other.
Why does executive control help people to protect their relationship from attractive alternatives? We reasoned that executive control is directly linked to relationship-protective responses by inhibiting relationship-threatening responses. Executive control helps people to refrain from acting on the experienced attraction toward desirable alternatives, leading people to show less interest in meeting them and to communicate less sexual interest (i.e., flirting behavior) when being confronted with them.
Thus, the present research provides insight into the process of why it is, at times, difficult to stay faithful: It requires executive control.
A man who meets these four criteria exhibits an emotionally healthy foundation for relating to others and remaining trustworthy. Fortunately, the vast majority of men fall into this group. Be aware, however, that it is the least trustworthy men who are most likely to approach you. On guard.