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The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love Hardcover – January 28, 2014

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The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love + The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert + The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037389290X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373892907
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ty Tashiro, Ph.D., is a relationship expert for the Discovery Network's Fit and Health Channel. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota and he has been an award winning professor at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado. Dr. Tashiro is often cited as an expert on relationship breakups, enhancing long-term relationships, and online dating. Visit him at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

rWhy Happily 1 Ever After is So Hard to Find

I met Grant at a time in his life when he could not stop worrying. It would have been difficult to know from casual observation that Grant was beset by anxiety. Just a freshman, he was already revered by the engineering faculty for his ability to dismantle complicated scientific problems. His boyish looks, lanky build and crackling voice made his stunning intellect seem all the more precocious. Grant quickly made many new friends, who were endeared by his old-school politeness, good-natured temperament and even the occasions when he could be socially clumsy. However, when his mother passed away unexpectedly, the loss sent Grant into a state of constant anxiety. His high-powered brain spun his worries so rapidly and tightly that he found it difficult to move forward in his schoolwork and his social life. For some reason, the one thing that did not seem to worry him was the intern assigned to be his therapist: me.

I was beginning my second year of graduate school in psychology at the University of Minnesota, and Grant was one of my first clients. During our weekly meetings, Grant showed rapid progress as he dutifully followed the anxiety treatment protocols. For our sixth session, the protocol called for a public outing, and Grant suggested that we walk to a nearby coffee shop. We stepped outside into a blustering minus-ten-degree wind chill and pulled the hoods of our puffy coats tightly around our faces as Grant shared his good news.

Earlier in the week, while perusing old science books at a used bookstore, he saw an attractive young woman looking at old philosophy books in the same aisle. There are few social situations as anxiety provoking as trying to initiate a romantic encounter, and Grant's mental centrifuge started to spin. Before his anxieties could gain much momentum, she was walking toward him and asking about the book in his hand. They spent the next thirty minutes enthusiastically discussing philosophy and science. Grant was smitten. He was still describing the wonder that was Emma when he opened the door to the coffee shop, began walking inside and then suddenly stopped.

In one seamless motion, Grant whirled around, pushed me out the door and strained to whisper in his crackling voice, "Sir! She's in there!"

"Who's in there?"

"Emma! She must work here."

"Ah, jeez. What should we do?"

"I don't know! You're the psychologist."


We sat down on a bench to regroup. In the cold air, I could see Grant's breathing following a cadence of three breaths in, four breaths out, the same cadence I had taught him to employ when dealing with oncoming panic attacks. As Grant's anxiety rose, I took a deep breath, turned to him and put my hand on his shoulder in the most fatherly way I could imagine. Having no idea what a skilled therapist might instruct a client to do, I asked, "You want to do this?"

Grant thought for a brief moment, and then he stood up. He pursed his lips with determination, straightened his puffy coat and in his Minnesota accent said, "You betcha." We marched inside and stepped into line. As we waited, I peered around the group of fraternity pledges in front of us to get a look at this mysterious Emma. She was an edgy sort of lovely. A hipster with black cargo pants, a well-worn Ramones T-shirt and big brown eyes framed by Tina Fey-like glasses. She was moving efficiently, handling the high-maintenance orders and simultaneously engaging in casual banter with her customers.

When the pledges turned away from the register, the most handsome and well polished among them lingered at the counter to flirt with Emma. He looked like an NFL quarterback: tall, strong and confident. For some reason, this situation sparked a primal instinct within me, and I felt compelled to tackle him. Yet, I knew Grant needed to be the one to attack, to be at the counter right now and intervene. When I turned to Grant, he stood frozen.

With only the primitive fightor-flight instincts of my hindbrain active, my relexive thought was to kick Grant in the shin. So I did. Like a horse out of the chute, he burst toward the counter, and for a brief moment, I felt a sense of triumph. Here was Grant, charging forward with intent and momentum, on his way to winning Emma's heart, until he tripped. I gasped as he flew forward. When he finally landed, it was chest first on the edge of the counter. As Grant lay there in an awkward, angled plank position, trying to regain his breath, the pledge, alarmed by the social awkwardness of the moment, shuffled to the end of the espresso bar.

As Grant lay on the counter, I wanted to pick him up and try to say something to break the awkward silence, but it was not my place.

I could only wait and watch. I felt like a coach standing helplessly on the sidelines, watching as his freshman kicker lined up to attempt a game-winning ield goal.

What happened next was simply clutch. Grant looked up, gazed directly into Emma's bespectacled eyes and spoke in the timbre of an evening news anchor. "Emma, I'm Grant. We met at the bookstore the other day. I am captivated by the book you recommended. It is brilliant."

Emma blushed.

Grant made some witty jokes, and she laughed. She made some jokes, and he laughed.

At the end of it all, Emma suggested, "We should talk sometime, Grant…you know, about the book."

After the debacle and the brilliant recovery at the cofee shop, Grant and Emma went on three dates over the course of two weeks. All three dates were filled with engaging conversations, ample laughter and a rapidly increasing mutual attraction. However, Grant had not dated much in his lifetime and so how to proceed in a relationship was unfamiliar to him. In our therapy sessions, he asked dozens of questions about love, but the most significant of these was a question he asked me after their third date.

"I like Emma a lot."

"You do."

"I think I should kiss Emma." "You should."

"Well, before that, I guess… Am I falling in love with Emma?" "Maybe, Grant. But being in love…it's pretty complicated."


By the time I entered graduate school during the late 1990s, relationship science, the field devoted to the scientific study of relationships, was burgeoning after decades of researchers struggling against critics who argued that love was too complex to study or that love was an frivolous topic for scientific investigation. The University of Minnesota housed some of the best relationship researchers in the world, and under their guidance, I began to learn about the science of falling in love, staying in love and losing love.

My early research was focused on the endings of relationships- specifically, whether relationship breakups or divorce could lead to personal growth that might improve future relationships. In one of our first studies, Patricia Frazier and I asked ninety-two undergraduates experiencing a recent breakup to "describe what positive life changes, if any, have happened as a result of your breakup that might serve to improve your future romantic relationships." We found that the average participant reported five positive life changes, which included improved friendships, feeling more self-confident and learning how to better communicate. To our surprise, "will choose a better partner in the future" was one of the least cited types of growth.

Although supportive friends, self-confidence and communication skills contribute to healthy romantic relationships, a much stronger predictor of romantic success is the type of partner you choose in the first place. The traits that a partner possesses before you ever start dating, such as his or her personality and values, are among the strongest indicators of whether a romantic relationship will be happy and stable many years later. However, for people who say they will choose a better partner for the next relationship, the intention to choose a better partner does not guarantee that they will end up making better choices. How many times have you witnessed friends who are smart and effective people in most aspects of their lives repeatedly choose the same dysfunctional partners and then appear surprised when the relationship is a disaster a few months later?

Even if people do want to choose better partners, there is little sound guidance for this endeavor readily available from experts. For example, if I asked what you should do if you catch on fire or see a thief in your home, your response would be instantaneous. You would "stop, drop, and roll" to solve the first problem, and you would "call 9-1-1" to solve the second problem. Both responses are automatic and effective. Luckily, the chances of catching on fire are only .002 percent, and of encountering a robber just .004percent. By comparison, the chances of divorcing in your lifetime (50 percent) are roughly twentyive thousand times higher than the chances of catching on fire. So, it is unfortunate that there are few sound strategies readily available to singles who want to make wise decisions when it comes to choosing a partner.

This lack of a clear and effective strategy for choosing romantic partners was made apparent to me by Meagan, a precocious sophomore in my Interpersonal Relationships course at the University of Maryland. She wanted me to distill the vast academic research on mate selection into some practical advice that she could use in her love life. Her whimsical framing belied the incisive nature of the question. "Let's imagine you are single and looking for Mr. Right when a fairy godmother appears and grants one wish for your love life," she said to me. "What would be the best way to spend that wish so that you live happily ever after?"

Admittedly, my response ...

More About the Author

Hi, I'm Ty Tashiro, author of THE SCIENCE OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love. My interest in the science of romantic relationships started while I was doing my graduate studies in psychology at the University of Minnesota. I became fascinated with the idea that researchers could find answers to age old questions about attraction, dating, sex, and marriage.

While I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, I taught a class about the psychology of relationships and also conducted research on romantic relationship processes. In this dual role as teacher and researcher, I realized that there was a gulf between my students' practical questions about relationships and the answers that were locked away in a vast sea of esoteric research findings.

So, I sat down to write THE SCIENCE OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER with the goal of answering common relationship questions that singles encounter while trying to navigate the complex and sometimes frustrating world of modern love. I've done my best to frame these important questions about how to choose a great mate with entertaining stories and clear explanations of the best relationship research available.

I also write "The Science of Love" for the Discovery Network's Fit and Health Channel and serve as an Assistant Research Professor with the Center for Addiction, Emotion, and Personality Research at the University of Maryland. I live in New York City, where people provide me with a constant stream of fascinating stories of love found, love lost, and every now and then, a love story that ends happily ever after.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 37 customer reviews
Very informative book with a lot of research based statistics and facts.
Jamie Wilson
This book is very helpful with research based data about what personal traits contribute to a successful relationship.
S. Cornett
There's good information in this book on how to make good choices and have better chances at finding lasting love.
Wilhelmina Zeitgeist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brooke Bender on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book combines massive amounts of love research with hilarious personal stories in an easy-to-read, memorable way. Concrete suggestions are made to guide decision making in order to find enduring love - perfect for any single girl like me. I often have difficulty focusing when reading boring research articles; this book has made me laugh out loud multiple times, while describing depths of research on the topic. I highly recommend this book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caley Johnson on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I’m a dude not particularly into self-help books and definitely not into love-help books. Therefore, I was surprised at how enthralled I was with this book. Relationships and mating are what society was built upon, and Tashiro shines a light on this topic in a way that makes you understand people and society better. I found the part explaining the origin/evolution of marriage particularly interesting. Following a science/pop culture fusion that is repeated throughout the book, he explains the origin of marriage through studies that estimated expendable calories before the industrial revolution, highlighted how many calories can be wasted through an unrestrained/perpetual courtship process [enter Jersey Shore anecdote here], and pointed to marriage as a way that clans and villages could keep their adolescents from wasting all their resources. Throughout the book, he explains many such aspects of society in a very scientific, entertaining, and memorable way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J-J-J-Jinx! VINE VOICE on March 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Books about relationships, fitness, and or dieting are my guilty pleasure. The way some people read a romance novel, I read these "self help" type books. Thus, although my reading pile is tall, this book made its way to the top as soon as I got it. For extra appeal, it has some charts and statistics to add some geek factor and a little sly humor to make it more fun.

The basic idea in the book, at least to start, is that romantic love and marrying for love and thinking of concerns above basic survival is a rather new concept for us humans, so we are still hardwired to want things that will help with basic survival even though we don't need those things any more. Basically, attractiveness, which indicates health and successful reproduction, and resource gathering skills, which is basically we are hardwired to want wealthy, good looking partners even though that doesn't help us at all with having a happy, healthy romantic relationship that will last us the rest of our lives.

Then there is the fact that when you start narrowing down the field of eligible singles, if you say you want someone who is tall, good looking and has a college degree, you've already eliminated most of the dating pool right there and none of those three traits are what make for a happy and lasting relationship. So, you should choose three qualities that you would like in another person that will actually make YOU happy.

I kind of thought that was the whole message of the book, but after a certain point it veers off into talking about relationship attachment styles and how people end up with the style they have and how you should look for someone with a healthy attachment style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GB420 on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
FIrst and foremost, this book is a great read!  Tashiro does a great job of combining hilarious, real life stories with results from an array of scientific journals to present you with the secrets to finding "Happily Ever After".  I've already bought several copies to give to friends (as I read the book, different people would pop in my head who NEED to read this book).  Even if you don't follow Tashiro's advice for finding your special someone, at the very least you get an entertaining, informative read.   
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Cornett on February 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful with research based data about what personal traits contribute to a successful relationship. I've never read a book on relationships quite like it.
That being said, it is very scientific with lots of research and psychology quoted and explained. I have a minor in psychology, and so I was very intrigued and enlightened by it, and completed the steps it gave to gain insight on my own needs in a a relationship and what I should be looking for in contrast to what I've looked for in the past.
This book could be too technical for some, but for me, the research adds validity to the advice of the writer. Therefore, I'm giving it 5 stars. Without the research it contains, the book would not be as powerful as it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill on February 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Wow! This author has such a great way of keeping the reader entertained while sneaking in lots of practical and evidence-based ways to seek out a lifelong partner. I'm married, but I still loved reading the book to find out what types of things make my current relationship so satisfying and some of my past relationships so unworkable. Heck, even if you don't care about the research part, read this book for the hilarious and touching stories that the author shares.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Butterscotch on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a very readable book; most people will find the writing style fun and light, and informative too. The author makes liberal use of charts and tables to illustrate points, and backs up everything with research and statistics. The basic premise: people looking for love put too many restrictions on 'the one,' and by whittling that wish list down to just 3 items we'd have better success finding lasting love/happiness. The information presented here isn't new, especially for anyone (like myself) who studies psychology and relationships in depth; the only difference is that the author is asking you narrow down your wish list even further, to just 3 items. I'm not sure anyone would be willing to do that - it's just way too restricting for most, but he does show (through stats), how a better focus on traits and personality 9as opposed to say looks and money) will get you a better pool of candidates. Like I said, nothing particularly stunning or groundbreaking, but easy to read, and good for singles who are being too picky in love.
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