Why Strangers Can Seem so Attractive


Strangers have an odd habit of seeming a lot more attractive to us than long-established and well-known partners. That’s not necessarily because they really are superior, simply that we know them a lot less well.
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“The Incumbent Problem refers to the vast, but often overlooked and unfair advantage that all new people, cities and jobs have over existing – or, as we put it, incumbent – ones. The beautiful person glimpsed briefly in the street as we step off the bus, the city visited for a few days of holiday, the job we read about in a few tantalising paragraphs of a magazine; these have unwise tendencies to seem immediately and definitively superior to our current partner, our long-established home and our committed workplace and can inspire us to sudden and (in retrospect sometimes) regrettable divorces, relocations and resignations…”


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Produced in collaboration with:

Alice Dunseath


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