Jay Shetty's focus for this On Purpose episode is the loss of the spark in relationships.

He argues that it is a common problem that affects everyone regardless of their relationship status. He acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted relationships, resulting in breakups and social anxiety. Jay aims to provide solutions to the challenges faced in relationships and offers methods he and his wife have found successful, backed up by research.

Jay emphasizes the importance of addressing these challenges and encourages the audience to listen to the episode for closure, even if they recently experienced a breakup.

The Attractiveness of The Bad Boys

Chemistry is essential and customary in relationships, but character is what continues and maintains them. Jay Shetty explains that people's true nature is revealed when stressed or tired. Therefore, evolving from chemistry to character is essential if a relationship is to progress.

People tend to overrate chemistry because they only see a small part of their partner in the beginning stages of a relationship. Jay Shetty notes that individuals are complex and have many layers. Cultural forces that surround us as we grow up nurture character traits such as values and interests.

Jay Shetty highlights a study on the concept of the "bad boy" and biology.1 He notes that the bad boy type is more common because these men often demonstrate what psychologists call the dark triad of characteristics. The dark triad of characteristics is narcissism, psychopathy, and manipulativeness. Although these traits do not sound attractive, in the real world, they can be alluring.

In a study, women were given descriptions of two types of men: regular guys and bad boys. The bad boys were described using traits from an inventory of characteristics typically associated with narcissism. The women rated the men's attractiveness based on these descriptions, and bad boys came out on top. Jay Shetty notes that the bad boys' ability to sell themselves and manipulate others may be why they are perceived as more attractive.

Love The Character

According to Jay Shetty, the failure to make the transition from chemistry to character is one of the biggest reasons relationships end. He suggests that this change occurs biologically as we age and our prefrontal cortex develops.

When we are younger, we are more likely to follow our feelings and less likely to use reasoning and self-control. As a result, we may be attracted to physical appearance over more meaningful concepts associated with true love, such as intimacy and commitment.

A study in the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research found that those who experienced love at first sight, were more likely to prioritize physical attractiveness over intimacy and commitment.2 However, Jay Shetty also notes that love may not be a distinct form of love at first sight. Instead, it can be a strong initial attraction labeled as such.

Hedonic adaptation is the psychological phenomenon where we adapt to new experiences and return to our prior happiness levels. This applies to the early stages of love, which researchers call passionate love. Over time, passionate love may transform into compassionate love, characterized by a deep connection and compatibility based on values and character.

Therefore, Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of looking beyond initial chemistry and focusing on deeper values and goals. He warns against getting too caught up in the excitement and stress of the initial stages of a relationship, which may create the illusion of a spark that can fade over time. Instead, we should prioritize compatibility and long-term values to sustain a meaningful relationship.

Being A Team

Sometimes, relationships can shift from a collaborative partnership to a competitive one over time. For example, the initial stages of a relationship involve trying to win over the other person. Still, later on, we may find ourselves wanting to win arguments instead. This shift from collaboration to competition can cause relationships to break down.

Jay Shetty provides an example of a couple who were initially perfect for each other but began to have problems once they had children. The couple started to keep score and note who contributed more to the family. This eventually led to a therapy session where they agreed that the marriage wasn't working. However, during a conversation after the therapy session, they decided not to pursue a divorce. Instead, they learned to shift the dynamics of their relationship from competition to friendly rivalry. They started celebrating each other's successes rather than being critical.

Jay Shetty believes relationships often reach a fork where one must choose between competition and collaboration. He encourages people to select cooperation, which leads to connection and care rather than comparison, criticism, and complaining. He suggests that people ask themselves whether they are competing with their partners or collaborating with them in an argument.

Research conducted by anthropologist Helen Fisher found a group of long-married people who were still very much in love.3 The study showed that when these individuals looked at pictures of their partners, they showed activity in areas of the brain associated with our basic human drives: sex, romantic passion, and attachment.

Jay Shetty notes that attachment, or liking can form the basis for a happy long-term relationship. He compares this to early-stage love, where people show activity primarily in areas associated with dopamine-fueled, passionate love. Moreover, Jay highlights the importance of liking someone and loving them.

Jay Shetty encourages people to ask their partner what makes them feel loved and try to do those things. He suggests that people should take time to understand their partner's perspective and strive to communicate effectively. He notes that relationships take work and that people should be willing to put in the effort.

Becoming Your Best Self

Relationships are not just for pleasure but for reaching our true potential. Our partners can push and challenge us in ways that no one else can, which can bring out the best in us if we allow it. However, many people fear letting this happen because of their egos.

Jay Shetty emphasizes that relationships are not meant to provide unending happiness. Instead they are the place where the soul works out its destiny. He quotes relationship counselor and former monk Thomas Moore, who believes that when we focus our attention on the soul of the relationship, a different set of values come to the foreground. We begin to see relationships as a place to grow and understand ourselves and our partners more deeply. Challenges within a relationship can serve as an initiation into a more meaningful relationship.

A relationship requires a particular investment from our side. Researchers from the National University of Singapore and Emory University found that the more a couple spends on a wedding, the more likely the marriage won't last.4 Couples who spend $1,000 or less on their wedding were 53% less likely to divorce, while those spending over $20,000 were 46% more likely to divorce. Jay Shetty suggests investing more in our relationship than the wedding, such as choosing the couples we want to spend time with, finding relationship mentors, and seeking counseling before getting married.

Clinical psychologist Seth Meyers believes that seeking counseling before getting married is the wisest decision any couple can make, even if they choose not to get married. Meyers explains that having a structured environment where couples can express their feelings and be supported in working through early challenges can help resolve issues before they become more difficult to settle.

Growth Within A Relationship

Jay Shetty emphasizes that while relationships can be fun and exciting, they also offer an opportunity for growth that is even more satisfying than momentary pleasure.

He explains that chemistry between two people is natural and can fade over time. Still, compatibility and character can rise and become more critical. We can choose between competing with our partners or collaborating with them to build a stronger relationship. He suggests that the latter choice is more likely to lead to a long-lasting soul connection.

Jay Shetty acknowledges that relationships can be difficult and uncomfortable, like going to the gym or eating healthily. Still, the growth and accomplishment from working in a challenging relationship are much greater than any pleasure. So he encourages listeners to focus on building a more profound connection rather than just seeking pleasure.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “3 Scientific Reasons Why We Lose The Spark and 3 Ways To Get It Back” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

1Carter, Gregory & Campbell, Anne & Muncer, Steven. (2014). The Dark Triad personality: Attractiveness to women. Personality and Individual Differences. 56. 57-61. 10.1016/j.paid.2013.08.021.
2ZSOK, F., HAUCKE, M., DE WIT, C.Y. and BARELDS, D.P.H. (2017), What kind of love is love at first sight? An empirical investigation. Pers Relationship, 24: 869-885. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12218
3Fisher HE, Xu X, Aron A, Brown LL. Intense, Passionate, Romantic Love: A Natural Addiction? How the Fields That Investigate Romance and Substance Abuse Can Inform Each Other. Front Psychol. 2016 May 10;7:687. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00687. PMID: 27242601; PMCID: PMC4861725.
4Francis-Tan, Andrew and Mialon, Hugo M., ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration (September 15, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2501480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2501480

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