And so I began to realize maybe all of this hooking up and friends with benefits and living together is not recklessness. Maybe singles are trying to learn every single thing they can about a potential partner before they tie the knot. And I had reasoned: Well if there’s this long precommitment stage of getting to know somebody, maybe by the time you walk down the aisle you know what you’ve got; you’re happy with what you’ve got; and you’re going to build a long stable really happy marriage.And in a short marriage — used to be the beginning of a relationship; now it’s the finale. Maybe we’re going towards a time of happier marriages because relationships can end before you tie the knot. How they handle getting exercise and their own health and your health, et cetera. I think we’re in a — I’m very optimistic about the future because of this concept of slow love.So within this study, I asked these 1,100 married people a lot of questions but one of the questions was, "Would you remarry the person you’re currently married to? And I think that with what I call fast sex, slow love, with this slow love process of getting to know somebody very carefully over a long period of time, it’s going to help the brain readjust some of these brain regions for decision-making. I’m not really in the advice business or the "should" business.

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You know a great many people are having these one-night stands and friends with benefits and living together before they marry.

And there was a recent study in which they asked a lot of single people who were living together with somebody why have they not yet married.

And 67 percent were terrified of divorce, terrified of the — not only the legal and the financial and the economic but the personal and social fallout of divorce. And we did a study of married people — not on the site Match.com, of course — of 1,100 married people.

Plenty of people are pessimistic about the state of relationships in society. Helen Fisher, senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, isn't one of them.

She sees trends like extended periods of cohabitation before marriage and a persistent fear of divorce not only as interrelated, but also signs of a healthy change in attitude toward love. biological anthropologist, is a Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, and a Member of the Center For Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University.

While marriage was once the start of a long-term relationship, she says, today is it's the finale. She has written six books on the evolution, biology, and psychology of human sexuality, monogamy, adultery and divorce, gender differences in the brain, the neural chemistry of romantic love and attachment, human biologically-based personality styles, why we fall in love with one person rather than another, hooking up, friends with benefits, living together and other current trends, and the future of relationships — what she calls: slow love.

And that's a good way to cope with a brain whose primitive regions are driven intensely toward short-term relationships. Fisher also explains how to maintain novelty, the fuel of romantic love, and how to be aware of the brain regions that affect satisfaction in a relationship. Helen Fisher: We all want to have a good, stable relationship with somebody and one of the problems with early stage, intense feelings of romantic love is that it’s part of the oldest parts of the brain that become activated.

Brain regions linked with drive, with craving, with obsession, with motivation.

And, in fact, some cognitive regions up in the prefrontal cortex that have evolved much more recently begin to shut down.