Why would having more experience be associated with worse outcomes? We generally operate under the assumption that people with more experience, in a job, for example, are experts and therefore better than novices or new hires. Shouldn’t having more relationship experience also make people wiser in their love lives?One reason that more experience could lead to lower marital quality is that more experience may increase one’s awareness of alternative partners. A strong sense of alternatives is believed to make it harder to maintain commitment to, and satisfaction with, what one already has (Rusbult & Buunk, 1993; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). People who have had many relationships prior to their current one can compare a present partner to their prior partners in many areas — like conflict management, dating style, physical attractiveness, sexual skills, communication ability, and so on. Marriage involves leaving behind other options, which may be harder to do with a lot of experience.
August 26, 2014 at 1:47 PM EDT