Case study: Counter-factual Thinking can have side effect

Though I have finished my class this semester, as long as I learn some interesting scientific dating theory or I have some useful experience,I still would like to share my thoughts and my experience here with you.  The blog is not just for class but also to inspire thinking and improve your dating and relationship experience.

Yesterday, my friend told me that her boyfriend is having an affair. She and her boyfriend works in two different towns, 3 hours’ drive. They can just meet each other once a week. The third wheel is her boyfriends’ pretty colleague, they can meet each other everyday. As I talked about in my early blog, mere exposure effects is powerful.  My friend did not know what to do to save her relationship. She told me, she ever asked her boyfriend if she had an affair at the same time, would he break up with her? His boyfriend said yes. He added, only because he felt guilt now, he had not done so. My friend’s heart was broken at that moment. I felt sad for her.

This question is a counter-factual thinking. It is detrimental for a relationship in my friends’ situation. In psychology, there is a huge literature about counter-factual thinking. You can Google it in Google scholar. What I want to say now is that”

If you cannot get the answer that in favor of you from counter-factual thinking, don’t do so.

Maybe, my friend’s boyfriend had never thought about this possibility before she asked. Now the question created a change of meaning. He can’t help thinking the chance that he can finally dump her present girlfriend without feeling guilty. The more he thinks about that, the more likely he will take action and make the “what if” happen. For my friend, she know she could not get the expected answer before she asked. Besides hearing the heart-broken “yes”, she cannot get anything from it. What my silly friend! She wanted to get an “No” but rationally it is impossible.

The take home point of this real story is that: Don’t ask counter-factual thinking question if its realization is not in favor of you.If you don’t want it happen, do not say anything.    

May God bless my friend!

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