I did not claim to know. I ventured to speculate based on what I know about human behavior. The relationship elevator (or escalator) is a pretty well documented concept, but it doesn’t even need to be, because everyone knows about it. They just don’t necessarily recognize it as a dynamic because most people (particularly women) are bought in to this as being the right and true way to proceed in relationships. Rather than letting relationships find their actual level, many people are zeroed in on trying to find someone (anyone) to go to the next floor with. If you are from a culture where it’s a woman’s main role in life to become a wife and mother (most of them) having that trajectory interrupted is also a part of the loss, compounding the actual personal loss.

“The concept of the relationship elevator refers to the linear vision of monogamous relationships: you meet that special someone. You have a first date. You kiss. You start dating “seriously”. At some point you have sex. You move in with each other. You get married. You have kids. You buy a house. The exact order might vary slightly, but if you linger too long on one “floor”, family and friends will start commenting.

The whole idea that your “relationship isn’t going anywhere” or that you need to start “taking this serious” is based on the elevator concept. You can only be on one elevator at a time — and you need to get up as quickly as possible, even if it’s not completely clear why that’s so important.”


Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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