How to Get a Guy to Commit

Interesting take on relationships and habits by our friend Charlie Duhigg, author of the bestselling Power of Habit. Women turn to bad habits when they’re stressed, men when they see a line of cocaine. Obviously!

For women, exposure to stress-related cues triggered bad habit impulses. Seeing a photo of a child in potential danger, for instance, caused female addicts to crave a glass of wine or cocaine. Emotional cues seemed to be enormously powerful. Men, on the other hand, were much less affected by stress.

But when men saw visual or anecdotal drug-related cues—a photo of someone at a bar, or of a needle or line of coke—their habit centers were triggered. For women, those images had less power. One takeaway from this is that therapies should be different for men and women. Female addicts should be instructed in stress reduction techniques, while men—the findings suggest—may do better in a 12-step program.

I’ll tell you this: Nothing makes me want to drink so much as money troubles, job worries or kid anxiety. Not so my husband, who can generally shrug that stuff off, but will likely go on a bender at the mere sight of a bar stool.

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