“Adultery could save your marriage”, or “How to churn out science news by riffing on Valentine’s Day”


“Could” is an awesome word. I “could” be in a position to help you. That dream job “could” be yours. Eating fish oil “could” make you smarter, or it “could” cause cancer. Or whatever.

And, of course, adultery “could” make your marriage more happy. Why, yes, of course it “could”.

Here is The Telegraph:

…allowing your partner to sleep with other people could be the key to a successful marriage, psychologists have claimed

Yay! Psychologists! They know everything about happy marriages. (Note too that they are “claiming” this stuff. Claiming doesn’t actually mean proving. Claiming is a kind of guessing…)

They argue that “outsourcing” areas of marriage to other people could save relationships in the long term.

Nice use of jargon there.

Living apart could also revive some of the mystique of courtship and relieve monotony, [Eli Finkel, of the department of psychology at Northwestern University] claims.

“It may be that your spouse is a terrific source of social support and intellectual stimulation but you haven’t had sex more than twice a year for the last five years and neither of you thinks that’s adequate,” he said. “So you could say, that’s one of the needs I am going to fulfil elsewhere.

You could say that, yes. And you could say the exact opposite. Or anything else, for that matter.

Finkel presented his, erm, findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago. You can tell it’s scientific: he called his paper “The Suffocation of Marriage.”

Don’t people realise that “could” is simply Boolean ass-covering, a circular code that allows both ‘Yes’ OR ‘No’ to be the right answer, something that is meaningless insofar as it means both the core assertion and its diametric opposite are equally on the table? That when the headline writers talk about “could”, they are actually immediately whispering to themselves “or could NOT!” and then laughing? (At you.)

I actually think people do realise this. They just enjoy reading this silly stuff

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One Comment

  1. Or….’could’ May simply mean that different things work for different couples and we should not allow preconceived notions shut our mind to possible solutions that ‘could’ ‘maybe’ work for us

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