by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
An important aspect in any relationship—church member or not—is who holds the power in the relationship. Meaning, who makes the decisions, determines what is or is not done, and perhaps most importantly in dating, whether or not to continue the relationship. Ideally, both dating partners are strongly into each other and both want the relationship to be “full steam ahead”. Or, both partners are casual and slow in the relationship, but at least they are roughly in the same place and are proceeding accordingly. Unfortunately, most of the time, at least in the beginning, there is a power and interest difference. Meaning, one dating partner is mostly determining whether or not to continue and the other is just hoping to continue and that the other stays interested and trying.
The Principle of Least Interest
According to social psychology, “the principle of least interest” is “the idea that the person that has the least amount of interest in continuing a relationship has the most power over it”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_interest). In other words, whoever in the dating relationship is less interested in general and more willing to allow the relationship to end if needed is the one to determine whether the relationship continues or not. Such dating scenarios create a problematic dynamic. The more interested dating partner tends to walk on eggshells and feel quite anxious to not upset, offend, or otherwise put off the other person and get broken up with. This kind of relationship is quite stressful. Conversely, the dating partner holding the least interest will often feel bored, ambivalent, annoyed, and bothered by the other partner. Such an unbalanced relationship is bound to end badly with the more interested person usually ending up hurt.
What to Do in an Unbalanced Relationship
If you are the least interested person in the relationship, why are you in it? And why are you less interested in the other partner? What is he or she lacking? What are you lacking that prevents you from engaging more? Are you not physically attracted enough to the other person? Not intellectually stimulated enough by them? Other issues and problems? Whatever the reasons for the lower interest, it is important to determine pretty quickly whether or not the issues resulting in the lower interest can be overcome or if they are deal breakers. If the issues can be worked out, consider couples therapy or self-help books/other resources. If the issues cannot be worked out, please break up with the other person sooner versus later. The later the doomed relationship goes on for, the more hurt the more interested partner will be.
If you are the more interested person, you have a few options. You can openly challenge the other person and their lower interest, distancing yourself to see if/when the other person is able and willing to invest more in the relationship. If you distance and the other person never comes around, move on and find someone else who is willing to be an equally interested partner. At the very least, work to lessen and minimize your efforts in the relationship until your efforts are roughly even with the other and you are no longer working harder than the other person. Either the less interested person will eventually invest more and try harder, or they will distance and disappear in your life. In any event, when you are in an unbalanced relationship, it is a good idea on even out the relationship one way or the other—even if you lose the relationship in the process. Because if the relationship ends, what have you really lost? Not much.
In general, it is better to be in no relationship than in a relationship where you are much more into the other person than they are into you. Because such an unbalanced relationship you will eventually leave you hurt, frustrated, and disappointed. Have enough self-respect to not subject yourself to being with someone who is not that into you. You can find better. Be as into the other person as the other is into you. That is the way it was meant to be. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
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|2018-08-27||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Healthy relationships|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).