Irrational Behavior From the Otherwise Rational

Sway is a book dedicated to revealing the “irresistible pull of irrational behavior,” that causes otherwise completely intelligent and experienced individuals to make poor decisions.

Authors Ori and Rom Brafman show how this happens in business deals, plane flights, NBA drafts, and even relationships.

What the heck does the NBA have to do with love? Really, absolutely nothing.

What the two do have in common though is a trend of irrational behaviors, caused by very certain factors.

One of the most frequent questions I hear about relationships is, “Why can’t I just break up with him/her?”

Or how about this one–“Why the heck is he/she with her/him? They’re an awful partner! How can they put up with that time and time again?”

These questions are pretty impossible to answer, because every relationship is case-by-case, and I’m not fond of generalizing either.

But through the Brafman lens, we can identify a few factors that can help solve these questions.

Check out my video below to hear what Sway is all about!

Here’s the four causes of long-lasting, unhealthy relationships listed out just in case you want to look them up later:

  1. Diagnosis bias
  2. Value attribution
  3. Aversion to loss
  4. Commitment


I highly recommend everyone check this book out, whether you’re trying to solve a relationship crisis or analyze the War in Iraq.

April 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Sex-Ed for Dummies: STDs

STDs are a super embarrassing thing to thing about, much less actually talk about. Knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases ranges from a naive “ignorance is bliss” attitude to textbook images of horrific sores and infections.

STDs can cause serious life problems.

There are three kinds of STDs, mites, bacterial, and viral. I will only discuss a few bacterial ones in this article.

It is important to expose yourself (no pun intended) to the basic facts about the most common STDs, and as a responsible, sexually active adult, you won’t regret it.


  • Transmission: The Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium is passed through sexual contact. Infection can spread from one body site to another via fingers.
  • Symptoms: Women: Pelvic inflammatory disease, disrupted menstruation, pelvic pain, raised temperature, nausea, vomiting, headache, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Men: Urethra infection discharge and burning during urination; with epididymitis, heaviness in and painful swelling at bottom of affected testis, inflammation of scrotum.
  • Treatment: Doxycycline for 7 days, or one dose of azithromycin.


  • Transmission: The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium is passed through penile-vaginal, oral-genital, oral-anal, or genital-anal contact.
  • Symptoms: Women: Green or yellowish discharge (usually remains undetected); pelvic inflammatory disease may develop. Men: Cloudy discharge from penis and burning during urination; complications include painful swelling at bottom of affected testis and inflammation of scrotum.
  • Treatment: Dual therapy of one dose of ceftriaxone, cefixime, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, or ofloxacin plus one dose of azithromycin (or doxycycline for 7 days).


  • Transmission: The Treponema pallidum bacterium is passed from open lesions during penile-vaginal, oral-genital, oral-anal, or genital-anal contact.
  • Symptoms: Primary Stage: Painless chancre at site where bacterium entered body. Secondary Stage: Chancre disappears, and the generalized skin rash appears. Latent Stage: There may be no visible symptoms. Tertiary Stage: Heart failure, blindness, mental disturbance, and more; death may result.
  • Treatment: Benzathine penicillin G, doxycycline, erythromycin, or ceftriaxone.


  • Transmission: HSV-2 (genital herpes virus) passed primarily through penile-vaginal, oral-genital, oral-anal, or genital-anal contact. HSV-1 (oral herpes) passed by kissing or oral-genital contact.
  • Symptoms: Small painful red bumps appear in the genital region or mouth. Bumps become painful blisters and eventually rupture to form wet, open sores.
  • Treatment: No known cure. A variety of treatments can reduce symptoms. Oral acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir promote healing and suppress recurrent outbreaks.

A few last things to note:

Remember that only one birth control method can protect you against STDs: the latex condom. Birth control pills may make bacterial infections worse. Females have an easier time getting STDs than do males because more soft tissue is exposed.

STDs can result in very serious complications, or even death. It’s not a joke.

Go get yourself tested.

April 13, 2010 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

Coming “Out”

After a brief review of the blog posts thus far, I noticed that the majority of our posts dealt with the questions of couples in heterosexual relationships. I don’t believe trails and tribulations of falling in and out of love are the same for heterosexual and homosexual couples hence, this blog post. I interviewed an acquaintance of mine who recently came out and has been dating a fellow student at Texas State.  

 What has been the biggest change in your life since coming out?  

I dated men all throughout high school and undergrad; I actually had several successful relationships before I came out. I was a serial “dater.” I would have very serious, long-term relationships and then I would end them and find another. I was never really happy though. The relationship/love/significant other side of me just was really underwhelmed with dating in general. I dated because it was expected. When I decided to come out, really when I realized that I was gay, I felt more at home with that side of myself like the “dating” me, the college me, the sister me, etc. didn’t all have to be different. I don’t compartmentalize my life as much anymore. That has been the biggest change I’ve noticed.      

Was it difficult to tell your friends and family?  

I’m not particularly close to my family. My being gay “all-of-a-sudden” hardly stirred a ripple. The most difficult part was finding out who my friends really are. I come from a small town, lots of conservatives. Some people would rather jump ship that be friends with me now that I am not straight. At first I was hurt, insulted, mad, indignant, all of the above. It’s hard to learn who doesn’t love you for who you are but it’s great to know who does. I am a lot closer to some people in my life now.  I never got told that before. It would have been nice to know that coming out meant losing some friends. It was shocking at the time.  

How has dating changed?  

You mean besides the obvious? (laughs)  I find that everything can be described in terms of “more.”  There is more communication, more time spent together, more going out and doing things, more fun. Granted, these are just general observations about dating women, which I am new at.  I haven’t really gotten into a long-term relationship yet; I imagine it will be a very different experience.     

photo by SpoilMeWith

 Have your relationship goals changed?  

Slightly. I still imagine myself getting married. Just my ability to do so is the issue. I still want children. Whether I adopt or use AI is up for discussion. So, I guess my goals haven’t changed that much. I want to love someone enough to spend the rest of my life with them (See! I love monogamy!) and I want to raise children.  

What are some of the challenges you have faced thus far?  

I don’t like the stereotypes. Both in general and from people I know. There is all this baggage that comes with being a lesbian. People automatically think you are promiscuous, like all lesbians are the same. It’s annoying more than anything. I guess if that’s the worst of my problems then I am being a complainer. It just feels different. The world was a-okay with my heterosexual relationships but now I feel like people are judging me, I’ve lost some friends. I thought the transition would be simpler I guess.  

What advice would you give to those struggling with coming out? 

One of the things I found most helpful in the transition is the gay community. I didn’t have any gay friends to ask for help or support, but when I finally got the courage to tap into the community, everyone I met was so helpful and friendly. I would say to make a support community. Go out, meet people, ask questions, educate yourself. From what I have heard, it is not something you want to do alone.    

 My interviewee mentioned in the interview follow-up a website called with a lot of helpful resources for people struggling with coming out.  


April 12, 2010 at 3:52 am Leave a comment

Post-Grad Plans for Love

We all know the dreaded question…

“What are YOU doing after graduation?”

by Schlüsselbein2007

With commencements of all sorts coming up in May, you are forced to ask yourself, “What will I be doing?”

Of course, this is primarily a happy time. One chapter of your life is coming to an end and the next journey is about to start.

For the more laid-back graduate, vague thoughts about jobs, internships and travel float gently through the mind. For the real go-getters, plans are already made and settled. On to the next one, so to speak.

But what happens when it comes to your relationship?

At some point or another, whether it be your first “love” in the fifth grade or your fiance at the end of college, you have to ask yourself where it’s all going.

That’s not an easy question to answer, by any stretch of the imagination.

If you’re in a short-term relationship it may be easier just to call it quits after graduation, or after a fun summer together.

If you’re in a long-term relationship, you’ve probably already discussed the options with your partner on what to do after commencement or at the very least, thought about what you want to do.

Other Relationship Issues That Arise With Graduation

  • Long Distance Issues: Will you or your significant other be moving after graduation?
  • What do you really have in common? Many couples realize that the only thing holding them together was school or the shared interest of classes, extra-curricular activities or location.
  • Trust and commitment. Do you trust your partner once you’re no longer in the same social circle/doing the same things in life?

Couple Spotlight

Meet Lee and Jake. Lee Howard is graduating from UT in May and her boyfriend Jake Rodriguez, is graduating from St. Edward’s in August. They’ve been dating for about 8 months now, and have already discussed the future of their relationship. I sat down with them and asked a few questions to help us all out.

by pedrosimoes7

Love, Austin: What are your plans for school and career after graduation?

Jake Rodriguez: I will be attending UTSA for the next several years, working towards becoming a dentist.

Lee Howard: I am also moving to San Antonio to be with Jake, and pursue a job in journalism there.

LA: You two have already talked about your relationship after commencement. What are some of the main points that came out of that discussion?

JR: Well to be honest, we were kind of avoiding the topic for quite some time. We both knew we had to approach it gently, and waited for the right time. Once we talked, it was like a great weight lifted off my shoulders. We talked about a lot of different things, but if I had to narrow it down, the most important points to discuss are these:

  • What is the distance going to be like? Are you staying in the same city? Are you moving apart? Or are you moving together?
  • Do we trust each other to share this next stage of our lives together?
  • What do we even want out of this relationship in the future?

LH: Those are some of the things we talked about, but adding to the list:

  • It is important to define your relationship, but also important not to go overboard with the whole thing. Think about what you want now, and how that may change in the future.
  • Accept that despite any plans made, they are all subject to change. This isn’t a bad thing…it’s just kind of scary!

LA: So what was the verdict?

JR: We decided to keep the good thing going. It will be nice to have Lee in San Antonio with me, in a new place that I’m unfamiliar with. I’m also looking forward to continuing the partnership because we’re both mature adults and actually discussed the issue without any awkwardness. That was a big sign for me.


So what can we take from Lee and Jake?

  • It may seem like a daunting conversation to have, but you must discuss it if you’re interested in keeping the relationship going past graduation.
  • How the conversation goes is a great indicator of how the relationship will continue. A little awkwardness is expected, but if the conversation is totally one-sided or vague, you may want to really step back and think about where the relationship is.
  • Main point: Talk it out!

Let Love, Austin know how your post-grad plans turn out. I have yet to figure out mine…

April 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm 2 comments

The “Ex-Factor”

Nobody wants to hear about their partner’s ex. Well, at least I don’t. I have found that couples around my age and especially in high school tend to unknowingly share too many details about past relationships. This may be an attempt to evoke jealousy or this may be completely unintentional. Either way, I think it is unnecessary and rude, to be honest.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it just happens. Maybe you are telling a funny story that happened a couple years back and that person’s name slips in, who cares? Maybe you are comparing your new partner to your old one, but in a good way. For example: “I’m so glad you’re so trusting of me, my old boyfriend/girlfriend never let me go out.” I think this could actually be a good thing. What I do not see necessary however is to go on and on about that person’s personal traits, the great times you two had together or how [this song/restaurant/perfume] reminds you of that person.

I found an interesting article called “Why a guy in a new relationship talks about his ex girlfriend.” I think they make some good points that could hold true for both guys and girls. Like I said, perhaps people talk about their ex partners unintentionally, and you have to forgive them the first time (maybe two), but many have other reasons for doing so. Here is what the article says:

  • The new relationship started too soon. If you start dating someone who has recently broken up with someone, or been broken up with, then there may still be feelings lingering. This may not be true for everyone, because if you were in a horrible relationship and now you are out, then “hurting” or “longing” for that old partner may not exist. The point is, just be careful!
  • You are being inconsiderate. It’s not your fault, right? Wrong. If you invoke arguments or talk down on your new love’s past relationship, this sparks drama. The natural defensive mechanism may just be to throw that past relationship in your face to piss you off. The less of a chance you give him/her to settle into things or get on the same page, relationship wise, as you are then he/she is bound to make comparisons between you and the ex.
  • Not in love with you. Now this seems a little harsh, and is where I disagree with the article. Talking about an ex can be accidental, just keep in mind how often it happens. Lots of mentions of that person’s name is definitely a problem though, I will admit that. The article makes a good point, usually in new and exciting relationships there is no time to even think about, much less verbalize, things from the past relationship.

I suggest if this is a concern of yours, even in the least bit, you read the rest of the article. Although it is no professional journal, it makes some excellent points that I have always felt to be true in this situation. Another problem concerning ex’s is keeping in contact with them. Can you ever actually be “friends” with an ex? If yes, then how does your new significant other feel about this. I think, as you mature, such subjects are easier to deal with. Jealousy seems to diminish with age for the most part. Trust and self esteem also have a lot to do with how couples handle having an ex in the situation, either verbally or physically (as in staying friends).

What do you think is appropriate when it comes to ex boyfriends and girlfriends? Do you get jealous, and if so then why?

April 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm 2 comments


Oh the failure of couples to communicate effectively. If we ever figured out how to communicate effectively and efficiently, then I’m pretty sure divorce rates would plummet, there’d definitely be less breakups, and oh yeah, the cure to cancer would be found.

Personally, I find it interesting how girls and guys always fail to see the same statements the same way. I took a poll and asked several guys who are dating what the root of some of their own personal fights were and the issues they had when the messages they were trying to send across, simply didn’t. Some of these quotes are also the things these men expressed girls in general just understood and knew about guys.

(For the safety and privacy of these gentlemen, their last names will be withheld from being published.)

“Don’t be mad when a guy opens the door for you. I hear enough complaints about guys being jerks and chivalry being dead. When chivalry slaps you in the face, take advantage of the good mood the guy is in and just go through the door.” ~Paul

“I don’t understand why girls have to make us paying for them such a big deal sometimes. Just let us pay for you and don’t “feel bad” but just smile and say “thank you!” We enjoy paying for you.” ~John

“When we tell you that you’re cute/beautiful/gorgeous/breath-takingly stunning, we are not making up stuff. We mean it. Just accept the damn compliment.” ~Steve

“We don’t care if you talk to other guys on the phone, but a phone call at 2 am of course some eyebrows are going to be raised. Nothing could possibly be THAT important at 2 in the morning.” ~Nicholas

“The hottest thing about any girl for me is confidence. I love it. That’s right, I said it. You can write my name R-A-N-D-Y.” ~Randy

“Don’t you girls understand that you don’t have to dress up every single time? We’re already dating. No need for that ‘cute’ outfit or tons of makeup. Honestly, it’s like that line from Drake’s song “Best I Ever Had”,

[Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on
That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong

because I think girls look so much cuter in just a t-shirt and jeans.” ~Bryan

“I don’t care how hot or sexy David Beckham, Brad Pitt, or Justin Bieber is. That’s what your girlfriends are for, to talk about how ‘awesome’ they are. I don’t really care.” ~Matt

“I don’t understand why girls stay with those ***holes. Don’t wait for them to change, ladies. Find somebody who will treat you with respect. A guy that can bring a smile to your face when you’re having a really crappy day. A guy who will love you for you, despite all your flaws and mistakes. A guy that will take time to say “I love you” and actually mean it to you. Give the nice guys a chance.” ~Andrew

April 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment

Why do they do that?: Girls Ask Guys

Alright, so here’s part two of solving the mystery of the opposite sex (or at least scratching the surface). The same ladies were invited to ask the guys the things they’ve always wanted to know, and hopefully these guys gave us some useful info.

Still confused? Me too. It seems to me that many of the answers for both sexes was “that’s just what we do”. As long as we look past these silly habits, I think we’ll end up ok.

April 8, 2010 at 8:08 am Leave a comment

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