my journey through the pursuit of love & happiness

Archive for the ‘economic models’ Category

My sex life is rarely as active as people believe. I have standards! Also, no biggie, I’m a sex camel. But more importantly, I don’t see the point in wasting my time having sex when the sex isn’t worth it. If I think about all the things I could have done with my time, even filing my nails, than the sex was not worth it.

And guess what. Most. Sex. Is. Not. Worth. It.

Surprise of the century. I’m still the only person to give myself a multiple orgasm. But sometimes you just want to feel someone on top of you. Yes, for all you Sex and the City fans, once upon a time Carrie wrote about this, too. It’s true. We all need human contact. Warmth. Someone to hold us. Someone to have us feel needed, wanted.

My question is: when do you lower your standards compromise what you want?

Of course we must consider the cost and benefits of lowering compromising your standards.

Costs: time, birth control, adding another one to your list, grooming time

Potential Costs/Risks: sex might not be good, even if you use condoms (and I always do) you can still get something!, him telling lies, him being an ass, if you don’t you may forget how to have sex

Benefits: getting what you want? someone besides myself seeing me naked.

Other considerations: You might regret it.

If I were really serious about this cost-benefit analysis I would only have sex with myself. In reality I’m only going to enjoy sex with someone if there is a connection. Connections take time. Only once in my life have I had a love-at-first-moment-connection. The rest is being comfortable enough with someone for them to see your vinegar strokes and that takes time. But no one wants to take time anymore. This nation of fast-delivery everyone wants everything now.  I learned a long time ago the only way I’m ever only going to get want I want now is to do it myself (no pun intended).

When do you think it’s okay to lower your standards compromise what you want?

Bottom-line of this article: If you’re a man and want to maximize your life span, you should look surrounding yourself by women.

Yes, just another study showing how men benefit not only from being married, but now, actually showing that men benefit from being around women.


I wonder why it’s not the other way around? Why do men’s benefits appear more measurable?

Evolution would tell us that there must be a mutual-beneficial relationship but it appears that men are benefiting more than women. Or is our benefit just measured by producing children?

Is this mother nature’s way of getting men to settle down?

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This week in Quant I learned about duration-dependence/hazard models.

Duration-dependence models are when behavior change depends on how long a person has been exposed to a treatment variable.

For example, one might want to look at how long a person being on welfare affects them staying on welfare. Or, one may want to look at incarceration.

Of course the first thing that came to my mind was: sunk costs. Does duration-dependence affect people’s decisions to stay in a relationship?

So I emailed my professor who said, “I don’t know….I haven’t seen one, but I don’t know this literature that well. We do know that cohabiting couples in the US have very high rates of breakup relative to those in Europe…”

Having my curiosity left unfulfilled I used my fancy research assistant skills to look up studies on relations and the duration-dependence model.

There aren’t many.

The Dissolution of Intimate Relationships: A Hazard Model” by Diane Felmlee, et al seemed the best candidate to satisfy by curiosity.

To summarize the article’s findings:

Satisfying intimate relationships are crucial determinants of people’s happiness and general well-being (cited from a different study). But what they fail to do is define ‘intimate relationships.’ Are non-romantic relationships defined in this study as intimate relationships? This is something I will have to explore another time, however, if there is a study out there telling me that my happiness and well-being is all dependent on a fulfilling relationship with a man, than shoot me now.

Theories of relationship committment and stability suggest that the quality of a relationship affects whether or not a relationships continues. Beg and McQuinn (1986) found that love and maintenance behavior were significant predictors of relationship stability.

Additionally, the more an individual loves his or her partner AND engages in behavior to maintain the relationship the more likely it is that the relationship will remain intact.

The amount of time the couple spends together, the more closely their lives become intertwined and the more reasons they will have to remain together.

All in all, the  amount of time spent together, when other variables are controlled (like love), is a good predictor of relationship stability.

Table 3 displays the multivariate estimates of the rate of break up following the first survey for current relationships. Prior duration in relationship is significant at p<.10. Sexual intimacy is not significant at any level. (I wonder if this means people are more likely to compromise on levels of sex satisfaction?)

The finding for relationship length implies that the longer a couple have been dating (before the first survey) the lower their rate of breaking up.

Additionally, the finding for the investment variable means that when other variables are controlled, the more an individuals believes that he/she has invested in a relationship the lower the rate at which the relationship is likely to end.

Other interesting findings about this study regard past relationships and how people look back on their fulfillment and reasons for break-up. This study, and other research suggests, that people look back on previous relationships in a way that maintains their self-esteem.


In addition to a few other factors a relationship is less likely to break up at any point in time the longer a couple has been dating before the first survey.

At the second survey prior duration in said relationship was no longer significant, however, the only variable that was was hours per week with partner at p<.05 level.

What does this really tell us about relationships and does it say anything about sunk costs in relationships?

I still believe that length of relationship should not be a deciding factor to stay in a relationship. If you are rationalizing staying with someone because you have been together for “so long” or “X months”, where X is considered long, than you should probably not be in that relationship.

I find it interesting that one of the significant variables is hours spent with your mate. I would like to see this study, with similar individuals, who are in long-distance relationships.

As I mentioned before, this study looks at social networks and their contribution to the dissolution of premarital relationships. It’s very interesting to see a study capture peer influences on the outcome of relationships. Not so surprising. Your mate either fits in with your social network or you build a new social network (your mate’s friends) in order to aid in the success of the relationship.

This makes me wonder how aware we are all of the reasons behind the dissolution of our romantic relationships.

If we are all aware of the determinants of breakups then we may be able to better understand ourselves, our wants and our needs in all of our relationships.

Or, at the very least, it makes for good food for thought.

The Nice Guy J-Curve Economic Model

Theory: The ‘nicer’ you are, the more your demand from the opposite sex diminishes.

Theory: The good ones are always taken. Often confused with: If you are taken than you are a good one. This is a common fallacy in reasoning. Effect does not equal cause.

As a disclaimer I need to explicitly say that there are guys out there who think they are nice, good guys; they are delusional about being a good catch. No. You. Are. Not. A. Nice. Guy. You also suck as a boyfriend. That being said….

Are you a ‘nice guy’ who doesn’t have a job or bounces from job to job (okay I know times are tough, but you know what I’m talking about), who asks but is hesitant to give, who lives at home in his late twenties for NO good reason? Have you ever held a job for longer than a year? Do you play video games ALL the time? Do you expect more from your mate than you are willing to give? When is the last time you lied to/ditched your girlfriend so you could hang out with your friends? When is the last time you went out of your way to do something that would make her smile?

Guess what. If this is you, you are well, what my father kindly refers to as a loser. Sure you may be nice, but you are also unmotivated and pay more attention to your video game than you do the hot naked girl who loves you standing to your right. You prolly also have no romantic sense and would never do anything out of your way for a girl you really want. Sure you don’t cheat on her and you do the typical boyfriend stuff of meeting her family and friends, but that doesn’t make you a catch. And to me, that sure as hell does not make you a ‘nice guy.’

To me, a ‘nice guy’ is someone who is self sacrificing. Someone who opens doors for his girl. Someone who is the first to give up his seat on the bus. Someone who cleans your dishes and makes your bed when you leave for school/work in the morning. A guy who offers before you ask. Someone who is confident. A guy who knows what is important to you and of course, a guy who makes you feel special and respects you.

Maybe that’s pretty specific. That’s okay because this is my blog.

Correlate: Nice ~ Sweet.

Second. Women do not want pushovers. This idea of nice guys finishing last is really pushovers finishing last. And you know why they finish last? Because they are pushovers. No wo-man wants a pushover. That’s not a relationship. So before you whine and cry about being left behind, ask yourself, did you grow a pair?

Also, I know a fair amount of women who have gone after ‘nice guys.’ And I definitely know nice guys who girls flirt with and maybe even throw themselves at, you know why? Because he’s a catch and girls want that, and they can smell it and they will go after it.

Evolution will back me up because another quality of nice guys: they will be good fathers. A woman wants a man who will stick around and take care of the babies. No one wants the father of their children to be a deadbeat.

Having problems getting girls? Well, did you ever ask yourself if you’re going after nice girls? Maybe nice girls suffer from the same syndrome. There are always guys who go after, what I will say more liberal girls. And I’ve heard more than one conversation wondering why a guy would ever value these “liberal” things and choose make her his a girlfriend. It happens both ways. Don’t be the kettle calling the pot black.

I guess the bottom line is: what is your bottom line?

You have control over your happiness and love life.

If you are a nice guy who can’t seem to get a girl, I have one question for you: Have you done everything possible in your power to win this girl over? I’m guessing no. Case in point: I know a seemingly nice relationship type of guy who to win a girl that was considered way out of his league, he took this girl in a hot air balloon for first date. I know right?

To both nice girls and nice boys, if you haven’t done everything than you have two options:

1. Do everything to get the person you want.

2. Get over it. If you aren’t willing to do everything for love, than I kinda don’t wanna hear it.

So let’s look at the casual factors:

nice guy /= finish last

pushover = finish last

Of course, we must take into account the age (and thereby wisdom and experience of each sex) in the model.

Because I enjoy the company of men who have grown a pair, I don’t want a loser. I don’t want a pushover. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say most women would agree.

Do you consider yourself a nice guy? What qualifications do you measure this by? Please don’t be one of those people who expect things from a person in a relationship but are never willing to offer those same standards to the opposite sex. i.e., boy wants a girl with a hot bod, well, how hot is your bod? If you want something out of a relationship you need to be willing to offer that same quality, characteristic, etc.

My personal relationship philosophy right now: I refuse, absolutely refuse, to settle into a committed relationship with a guy unless he exceeds my expectations.

It is of my humble opinion that you adapt something similar. It helps keep things in perspective. I mean having fun is one thing, but boyfriend material soooo on a different level.

Here’s the j-curve. You will notice that the opposite sex wanting nice guys starts higher with a younger age, decreaes throughout adolescents/young adults, and finally rises again with an increase of age.

nice guy j-curve

I am at that age where my cost benefit analysis of happiness is focused on maximizing long term performance outputs.

Lately, though, I’m wondering if I am just living in the future.

And is living in the future any way to live?

How is my focus affecting my short term happiness?

I wonder….

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have low risk aversion on short term happiness when I am unsure of future outcomes. Strange. I would expect that my risk aversion would positively increase with a higher uncertainty of return.

So can I trick myself into being unsure about future outputs in order to “live” more?

In order to fully answer this question, I feel like I need to understand why I am focusing on my long run happiness instead of short run.

Is it because I think I’m going to live a long time?

Is an underlining assumption that I am going to find ‘the one’ later on in life?

Is focusing on short run happiness or long run happiness better than the other?

To me, it seems that short run is (oviously) fleeting. I also feel like short run is more unstable. There’s not much of an investment, so there’s not much of a return. Or so I think. I know this isn’t true. I know that any investments into short run happiness can return as much, if not more, than long term investment.


And where are these long term investments leading me…. to the ghosts of sunk costs.

Let’s say I was laying groundwork for a good stable relationship over the past year. It is day 366 and I am looking at my happiness return. Is that right to expect returns on my happiness based on my emotional investment over the past year?

Let’s assume that I am not happy on day 366 with my investment return. Then day 1-365 is just a sunk cost. That sunk cost motherfucker.

Now, let’s assume that I am happy (or satisfied) on day 366 with my return of putting one year into the relationship. Than day 1-365 is not a sunk cost. Of course the obvious answer to this, is to keep investing until the return is no longer sufficient or greater than my perceived investment. But by investing in the long-run I am assuming an expected pay off. What if there is no pay off?

Where is all this leading? Short run, long run? Middle run?

I can only conclude that I should focus on short term happiness. Because I am never going to know when my emotional investment and time is going to bite me in the ass and become a sunk cost.

“Humans are cowards in the face of happiness.”

Fact: Sunk costs are any resources that have been expended and are sunk because they cannot be regained, no matter what.

Fact: Economists believe that sunk costs should not play a role in our decision making.

My Public Finance/Micro Professor suggests we don’t consider sunk costs in any of our decision making. The example he gave was, I believe, intel or was it Steve jobs? Anyways, one of those companies, the CEO was getting rid of a project like two weeks before it was to launch. Now this was a new product that they had invested a lot of time money and resources in. But the CEO believed it to no longer be useful and beneficial to the market or the company, and instead of justifying going forward because all that has been spent, he shut it down.

Economisits, and some sociologists, argue that people are (mostly) rational individuals. Economists believe that we want to maximize our happiness. Therefore, if we consider sunk costs in our decisions, it can hold us back from obtaining our maximum utility.

We need to start thinking about sunk costs in our lives.

It wasn’t until this past week when I was reading five models of behavior for another class that I realized how applicable the self-justificaton model is to relationships and why we need to start forgetting about sunk costs.

Sunk costs in relationships would include: time and money. Examples: justifying staying together because of how long you have been together, or the fact that you have kids (but are not happy), that you spent money on an engagement, and lastly, because you do not want to admit you made an error in choosing this mate.

“The commitment of self-justification version of the rationalizing model is also at odds with economic conceptions of rational decision making…..Not demonstrating continued commitment to a previously chosen course of action to some extent acknowledges that one has made a decision error. Better to persists and hope that things will turn out all right or that one will be rewarded for the positive attribute of perseverance.”

…. Sound like anyone in a relationship you know? I think we’ve all been there. Maybe if you just imagine it being great, like it might have been in the beginning, maybe if you just picture fairy tales, maybe if you believe in him so that he’ll change….these are self-justification rationalizations about why we are in a relationship with someone.

I think we can all agree that the only reason you should be with someone is because you love them! (and sometimes, that’s not even enough)

I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it. Maybe we justify getting back together with an ex because it’s comfortable, because you can skip the first moments of awkardness and cling to the belief that this person knows you. Or maybe in a weak moment we just want to feel loved (and we believe that an ex has the best potential of making us feel loved).

Except the relationship didn’t work the first time. And the fact that you were already together once does not mean that the relationship has a better chance the second time around (first round relationship = sunk cost).

I’m not saying forget about all ex’s in your life and never talk to them ever again or that the second time around is never better. I’m just saying that you should really examine your sunk costs. Are you still in love with this person?

Or are you embarrassed about admitting to friends and family that you made an error?

The heart knows what it wants. But I don’t think it’s rational to stay with someone you don’t love because you don’t want to be lonely.

All I know for myself is that I don’t want to settle. I shouldn’t have to. No one should. I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone where I am rationalizing to myself why I am with this person. Love is love. It grows differently for different people and can take many shapes and forms, but it’s always love. And no one knows more than your own head and heart if you love someone. But if your head is the only one in the relationship, than maybe your relationship is a sunk cost in the general picture of your life happiness.

This model also says we rationalize more when we are getting a perceived loss out of something. For example, in the beginning you thought maybe this will be great and had expectations. But now your expectations have been disappointed. Because you are not getting out of the relationship what you originally thought you would, you begin justifying your commitment.

Of course, love is not rational. But if we, as women, applied these theories to our relationship choices and stopped putting up with shit (because that is NOT rational) than maybe we will finally find a man that deserves us.

We all deserve a chance to be happy and to be loved.

The model also suggests “that people escalate commitment when they do not set a budget and when incremental costs and benefits are difficult to track,”

Now if we take budget= clear standards and expectations/ deal-breakers

Incremental costs= lying, cheating, not treating you how you want to be treated.

The model is telling you to start tracking these things so you will know how much shit you are really putting up with.

As individuals we all need to be very clear what we expect and want out of a partner. Once we have been honest with ourselves it is easier to communicate this with a partner. Now over time you may find yourself in a relationship where you are increasingly unhappy. Where he is not the man you thought or want. Where his little white lies are increasing and he may have been unfaithful. This is where we really need to implement the no sunk cost. As time goes by all these things he has done are building up, but it’s hard to see because it’s gradual—these incremental costs to ourselves are difficult to track.

Of course, “commitment to decisions may make sense and demonstrate persistence in the face of adversity.” None of us are perfect. And we cannot expect our partner to always be perfect, either. And yes, sometimes you just have to wait the tough times out to see the rainbow.

Ask yourself: Am I sticking it out because I want to prove to people that I didn’t make an error and show them all that we have the rainbow still? Or, am I sticking it out because I know I love this person and they are the one I want to be with?

Life is hard. Relationships are hard. I’m not trying to make relationship decisions for everyone out there…I just want people to examine their utility. Is there potential for maximized utility?

Okay, enough with all the econ talk. But really, I see so many young girls out there letting men treat them like shit.

What. The. Fuck. Stopping putting up with it! Do not justify being in a relationship with someone just to prove something (yes this includes proving things to yourself). We all deserve to be treated well. Come up with your bottom line and stick to it, because you deserve better.

No more sunk costs.


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July 2020
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