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7 ways being single influences your success

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bridget jones ice cream

Watch just about any romantic comedy or talk to your haughtiest married friends and you'll see that single life is wrapped in stigma. As the stereotype goes, single people would be much better off if only they got married.

As New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg writes in his book, "Going Solo," when discussed publicly, the rise of living alone is often presented as an unmitigated social problem and a sign of diminished public life.

But not everybody thinks this way.

In the US, people are getting hitched less often than they once did, and young Americans are putting off marriage more than ever before.

In 1962, half of 21-year-olds and 90% of 30-year-olds had been married at least once. In 2014, only 8% of 21-year-olds and 55% of 30-year-olds had been married.

According to Bloomberg, single Americans are now the majority.

"For decades social scientists have been worrying that our social connections are fraying, that we've become a society of lonely narcissists," Klinenberg tells The New York Times. "I'm not convinced."

And neither are a number of researchers. These studies begin to unpack the question of how being single affects your success:

SEE ALSO: 9 scientific ways having a child influences your success

Single people are more social.

A recent study on marital satisfaction released by the National Bureau of Economic Research and previously reported on by Business Insider suggests that the happiest people are those who are married to their best friends.

The authors concluded that partners can provide each other with a unique kind of social support and help each other overcome some of life's biggest challenges, and people with the most difficult lives — for example, middle-aged people, who often experience a dip in personal well-being — can benefit the most.

However, there are other kinds of social support that single are more likely to have the edge on.

Research suggests that, compared to married people, Americans who have always been single are more likely to support and stay in touch with their family and are more likely to help, encourage, and socialize with friends and neighbors.

Klinenberg explains that, despite extraordinary external pressure that can lead to self-doubt, being single doesn't condemn someone to a life of feeling lonely or isolated.

"On the contrary, the evidence suggests that people who live alone compensate by becoming more socially active than those who live with others, and that cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture," he writes.

 



Single people have more individual freedom.

Klinenberg also believes that, in the age of expanding digital media and growing connectedness, being single offers a clear advantage: more restorative solitude.

More alone time helps people discover who they are and what gives their life meaning and purpose, he explains.

"Living alone helps us pursue sacred modern values — individual freedom, personal control, and self-realization — whose significance endures from adolescence to our final days," Klinenberg writes. 



Single people pay some monetary penalties.

According to two Atlantic writers who crunched some numbers, single women can pay as much as $1 million more than their married counterparts over a lifetime.

The writers looked at the tax penalties and bonuses, as well as living expenses like health spending and housing costs. 

According to the US Department of the Treasury Office of Tax Analysis, more married couples under the age of 65 on average see bonuses than not for filing joint tax returns, something single people can't do.

According to the BLS data the Atlantic writers looked at, single women spent 7.9% of their annual income on their health, compared to couples who spent on average 6.9%.

And when it came to housing, single people tended to pay more: While married couples spent on average 23.9% of their annual income on housing, single men spent 30.3% and single women spent 39.8%. 

By combining resources and splitting costs, married people have the edge on all kinds of day-to-day expenses in addition to rent or mortgage: One cable bill, one utilities bill, and shared groceries can all lead to big savings.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 ways to spot a fake diamond

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One of the most common questions that gemologists are asked is how to tell the difference between a real diamond and a fake stone.

Whether it's with jewelry you inherited or something you found at a garage sale, it's easy to do a few simple DIY tests to discover if the gem in your possession is the real deal. That necklace you think is just cheap costume jewelry could end up costing a small fortune.

Here are five easy ways to see if the stone you have is actually a diamond.

BI Graphic_5 Ways to Spot a Fake Diamond

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Science-backed online dating tricks to find the best matches

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couple

It's that time of year again, when previously well-adjusted singles everywhere find themselves scrambling to avoid feelings of Hallmark-induced loneliness and desperation — Valentine's Day.

But if you don't have a date yet, fear not!

Dating online gives you access to a much larger pool of potential romantic partners than meeting people through conventional methods. It also gives you a peek at compatibility before you even commit to a date too.

We've scoured the research on online dating for the best ways to improve your odds of finding someone special.

Here are eight tips to help ensure you don't spend V-day alone:

CHECK OUT: Tinder isn’t the only reason the dating scene is terrible for women right now

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Choose a good photo.

"Offline, physical characteristics play a critical role in attractions for both men and women," researchers wrote in a 2008 study. Not surprisingly,the same is true online.

For their study, researchers surveyed 30 men and 30 women about their online dating experiences, and found that having a good photo was more important than any other aspect of their profile.



If you're not using your real name, pick a strategic username or handle.

If you're not pulling info directly from Facebook, the username or handle you select can make a big difference in how potential partners perceive you online.

Research suggests straight men are more attracted to women whose usernames suggest physical attractiveness (such as "Blondie" or "Cutie"), whereas straight women are more attracted to men whose usernames suggest intelligence (such as "Cultured").

Alphabetical order matters too. Some research suggests that names in higher in the alphabet may be linked with measures of success such as education level or income, and these names are also likely to show up higher in search results.



Make eye contact, and smile!

Wired asked the dating site OkCupid for photos of 400 of the highest-rated profiles in 10 major US cities, and the results were intriguing.

They found that over 80% of users with the hottest ranked profiles had strong eye contact. Moreover, 54% were smiling with teeth, compared to 23% who weren't smiling and 13% who were smiling without teeth. And skip the duck face, ladies — only 6% of the hottest profiles had a pic of one.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These mind-bending photos were taken by drone and will give you vertigo

This gigantic Rubik's cube is over 5 feet tall, and it's an incredible pain to solve

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Rubik's Cubes are hard to solve, even when they're small enough to fit on your hand. But why not go bigger?

Famed puzzlemaker Tony Fisher claims to have made the world's largest, working Rubik's Cube.

With each side just over 5 feet 1 inches long (1.56 meters), Fisher has to store it in his garage and roll it around his driveway to solve it.

That's not an easy task. The cube weighs around 220lbs (or 100 kilos), a heavy weight to lift repeatedly and rotate. 

For comparison, the Rubik's Cube that most people try to solve is only 2.24 inches long on each side. Whether or not Fisher's Rubik's Cube is the largest remains up for debate.

A 10-foot-high version in Knoxville, Tennessee doesn't function anymore, which Fisher argues disqualifies it from being the world's largest. Another model in a New Jersey science center is more a skeleton than a traditional cube and requires robot asisstance to move the pieces. 

That might leave Fisher's creation as the world's largest Rubik's Cube that's solvable only by humans. 

SEE ALSO: A robot has solved a Rubik's Cube in under a second

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4 things every man should know before going into a Victoria's Secret

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Buying a gift a for your wife or girlfriend can be one of the scariest, sweat-inducing activities known to man.

What's the ideal gift? Lingerie, of course. 

Buying lingerie is easier said than done. Sizes, colors, styles. It's all overwhelming.

Gentlemen, don't let this intimidate you! I ventured into a Victoria's Secret store and came upon the four main points every guy should keep in mind when shopping for lingerie. 

Produced by Sam Rega and Sara Silverstein

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The 10 most popular Los Angeles restaurants for Valentine's Day, according to Facebook

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bottega louieValentine's Day is a great time to enjoy a meal together.

To help couples figure out their plans, Facebook pulled together the 10 most popular Los Angeles restaurants for the holiday.

The results are based on the restaurants and cafes that had the highest number of Facebook check-ins on February 14 last year.

Here are the top 10 favorite Los Angeles restaurants for Valentine's Day: 

1. Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market

2. Perch

3. Russia Restaurant

4. Yamashiro Hollywood

5. Sur Restaurant

6. Dave & Buster's Hollywood

7. Red O Restaurants

8. Beso Restaurant

9. El Mercadito del Este de Los Angeles

10. Guelaguetza

With two celebrity-owned eateries on the list (Sur by Lisa Vanderpump and Beso by Eva Longoria) your Valentine's Day meal is sure to be a hit.

SEE ALSO: These are the most expensive Valentine's Day gifts money can buy

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

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6 strange things love does to your brain and body

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Love may not be a drug, but it can certainly feel like one.

Being in love floods our brains with chemicals that can induce feelings of everything from pleasure to intense focus and attachment.

But being in love isn't all in our heads: these chemicals can cause reactions throughout the body, which might help explain that tingly-all-over feeling we get when we see a loved one, or the "high" we feel after we've met that special someone.

Take a look at how love affects our brains and bodies:

 

UP NEXT: Science says these 5 things happen to couples who have been together a long time

NOW READ: Psychologist says these 2 patterns of behavior are the most common signs that a couple is going to divorce

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Here's what's happening in your brain when you can't stick to a diet

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maggiano's chocolate cake

When was the last time you were caught choosing a decadent dessert over a healthy snack despite previously promising yourself to eat healthier?

Chances are you're not alone. And some new research reveals what's going on in the brain when you opt for the cake instead of the fruit platter.

When people see a thing that reminds them of something that was rewarding in the past — like a slice of chocolate cake — the part of their brains linked with pleasure may be flooded with the brain chemical dopamine, even if they're not paying attention to it, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

The findings could explain why it's so hard to stick to a diet.

Even when you've decided not to eat junk food anymore, your brain is still rewarding you for past bad behavior, Brian Anderson, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University and one of the study's authors, told Business Insider.

"When you have a difficult time getting your mind off something that was rewarding in the past but you don't want to do anymore, you can't help but pay attention," he said.

The brain remembers past rewards

Previousresearch has shown that when we have a rewarding experience such as eating a piece of cake or having sex, our brains are flooded with the brain chemical dopamine. But the reason we continue to experience these rewards even when we're not consciously seeking out the thing that causes them has been a mystery.

PET_brain_biggerTo find out, Anderson and his colleagues recruited 20 people for a brain-scanning study. They had to perform two tasks while having their brains scanned in a PET machine, which measures brain activity using a radioactive chemical injected into their blood.

In the first task, the volunteers had to find colored shapes on a screen. They were paid $1.50 for finding red objects and $0.25 for finding green ones.

In the second task, the participants had to do the same thing, except they were no longer paid for finding shapes of a particular color.

Here's the surprising part: Even when they were no longer being paid for finding the shapes, the participants automatically focused on red objects when they appeared, and the brain scans revealed a release in dopamine in a region at the base of the brain called the ventral striatum, which is known to be involved in experiencing rewarding things.

They were also slower to find shapes of other colors, perhaps because they were distracted by the red ones, the researchers theorized.

What the findings showed was that a previously rewarding experience (finding red shapes) was still linked with the brain's release of feel-good chemicals, even when the person no longer expected a reward from the behavior.

While the experiments involved a fairly abstract paradigm with shapes on a computer screen, we may be able to extrapolate the findings to real-world scenarios, such as trying to stick to a diet, Anderson said. When you see a donut, for example, your brain may already start releasing dopamine because of your previous experience of a delicious donut, even though you may not even be thinking about eating one.

Of course, self-control "is a complicated process, and many things contribute to your inability to overcome a desire to do [something] that's not good for you," he said.

How to resist temptation

So given this knowledge of how our brains work, what can we do to resist temptation?

Anderson suggests two strategies:

  1. Avoid situations in which you know you're going to encounter the temptation, such as going to a donut shop.
  2. Reward yourself for doing things you want to keep doing, like letting yourself watch your favorite TV show after going to the gym.

But when it comes to self-control, not all of us are created equal. And the strength of the reward signal in your brain can predict how much you struggle to avoid paying attention to it, Anderson said.

In a small previous study of people with drug addiction, he has found that addicts may be more strongly affected by temptations of any kind, not just drugs. When he and his colleagues gave 17 opioid addicts and 17 healthy people the same color-finding task as the one in the new study, the addicts were much slower than the healthy volunteers to recognize the colors that weren't rewarded with money. The addicts also scored higher on a test designed to measure their impulsivity.

These findings suggest that addiction may be part of a much broader problem in how the brain makes decisions, which is something the researchers plan to look into in the future.

NEXT UP: Here's the real reason so many diets don't work

SEE ALSO: Here's what's going on in your brain when you can't spell a word

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A Wharton professor shares 3 science-backed strategies for raising highly creative kids

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dad kid

If you want to raise creative kids, you need to teach them to think for themselves.

To do this, Adam Grant, a professor of management at Wharton, author of the new book, "Originals," and father of three, tells Business Insider, you need "to foster an identify that 'I'm somebody who doesn't conform,' that 'I'm somebody who doesn't follow the crowd.'"

According to Grant, parents of highly-creative children think differently about how they approach raising their kids in three important ways:

SEE ALSO: 9 scientific ways having a child influences your success

DON'T MISS: Steve Jobs was one of the greatest procrastinators ever — here's how that helped him become so successful

1. They praise the child, not the act.

When Grant's daughter creates a piece of art, instead of saying, "Wow, that's a really creative drawing," Grant would tell her, "Wow, you are a really creative person." This helps her develop a sense of self as a creative person with unique ideas, he says.

"It's so tempting to reinforce the behavior, when in fact what we need to do is help children see that that behavior is a core part of who they are, so that when they grow up they don't lose creativity," Grant explains.

This idea of directing praise to the child rather than the act comes from research that found children were much more generous after their character had been praised than after their actions had been. "When our character is praised, we internalize it as part of our identities," Grant writes in his book.



2. They don't set a ton of rules.

Grant points to research out of Boston College that compared the families of highly original children with those with ordinary ability and found that the parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules — like when it's time for bed or homework — while parents of highly creative children had an average of less than one rule.

"If you want your kids to follow rules, then it's much more likely that, when it comes time to solve a problem, he or she looks to how it's been solved before — what are the conventional ways to doing it— as opposed to saying, 'Well, how can I approach this? What other solutions haven't been come up with before?'" Grant tells Business Insider.

This isn't to say there should be no rules. "There have to be some boundaries in order to get children to think creatively."



3. They reason with their kids.

Grant says that when researchers studied "one of the most daring acts of nonconformity that we've seen in the past century" — individuals who rescued victims of the Holocaust — they found one key difference between those who stood by and did nothing and those who put their lives on the line: Holocaust rescuers' parents used reasoning as a disciplinary tactic more often than others.

Explanations can do a few important things, based on the research cited in Grant's book.

Another study of American architects found that parents of the most creative architects disciplined their kids by outlining their standards of conduct and explaining their reasoning behind these principles — and encouraging their kids to come up with their own values.

And, as with the study of Holocaust rescuers, researchers found discussions that encourage kids to consider the impact of their actions on others activate a desire to right wrongs and do better.

"When you help children think about the consequences of their action for others, they're much more likely to channel their originality in moral and creative directions, as opposed to saying, 'I'm going to break a bunch of rules,' or 'I'm going to do something that perhaps would harm a few people,'" Grant explains. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The world's jet setters have noticed some of their people are missing

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waitress drinks dubai Burj Khalifa

There are people in the world who rarely stay in one place.

They're the executives, the entrepreneurs, and the global citizens who feel just as comfortable in Dubai as they do in Shanghai.

Call them your global jet setters, if you like.

And in 2016 they've started to notice that some members of their group have gone missing — the Brazilians and the Russians. They're just gone.

"It kills us the summer in Miami. We own four businesses there, and they [Brazilians] prop up the business in the summer," John Meadow, CEO of LDV Hospitality Group told Business Insider.

His firm owns around 30 upscale restaurants and clubs from New York City to Las Vegas and beyond.

"In August, Brazil was gone."

It's unlikely the Brazilians will be back this August either.

Since the end of 2014, Brazil's economy has been hit with a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at its massive state oil firm, Petrobras. Then there is the slowdown over at its major trading partner, China, and double digit inflation. Add in a growing fiscal deficit, a Presidential impeachment crisis, a collapse in the price of its key commodities exports, and a currency that has fallen 40% against the dollar.

Throw the Zika virus on top of that, envision a summer Olympic Games with all that chaos going on, and the picture gets even uglier. For Brazilians a Miami vacation, right now, is not really an option.

brl/usd

Noticing these disappearances is enough to make the nightlife crowd a little nervous. In the coming weeks, Meadow will head to Dubai for the sixth time in the last year.

"I really want to go there, and I really want to do my deal there, but I'm trying to be careful for the first time in my life ... because I've seen in this year, the Russians disappear," he said.

"You go out, you look around the room, you know who's there, you go back a month later, you look around the room — and they're all gone."

Russia's story isn't that different from Brazil's. The country is suffering, in part, due to the collapse in global commodities prices. Western sanctions put in place because of Russia's involvement in Ukraine have also strained the economy.

In 2015 the inflation rate hit 12.9%. The Russian ruble has fallen 55% against the dollar over the last two years. There's an underground market for cheese.

rub/usd

Across the jet set capitals of the world, inside the clubs and high-end restaurants, everyone from servers to chefs have noticed the shift.

Last summer, a global economic slowdown was a big part of industry chatter at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival. Consensus was: 'It's getting hard out there, people.'

It's the kind of environment that has at least one New York hospitality CEO teaching their staff to monitor oil rig counts to see if there's any sign oil prices will bounce back soon.

It took the industry a while to feel the storms brewing abroad, but they'll take any sign of a bottom.

They would like to see their clients again.

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Science says these 5 things happen to couples who have been together a long time

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Being with someone for a long time changes the way you see the world.

It also changes you. 

More importantly, close relationships may spark an entirely different way of thinking and acting, something Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of "Powers of Two," chalks up to having a "shared mind." 

So, how do you and your significant other stack up? Check out these signs psychologists have observed in long-term couples that they say point to having such a shared mind:

 

 

SEE ALSO: Psychologists say one behavior is the 'kiss of death' for a relationship

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1. You and your partner develop your own private language.

Ever get a text from your significant other that means absolutely nothing on its own but carries a certain significance that you can't quite explain?

This "insider" language is one of the first signs that the two of you are operating in sync, writes Shenk. According to a study from University of Texas professor of communication Robert Hopper, secret communication accomplishes two things: First, it helps deepen your bond — romantic or platonic. Second, it establishes a unique, shared identity. 

Private language can include everything from inside jokes to nicknames, writes Ohio State University psychologist Carol Bruess in a study of romantic couples. Bruess' research suggests a link between how often partners use these private words and how satisfied they are with their relationship. Bruess found that the more often couples used secret words and phrases, the happier they tended to say they were. 



2. You stop self-censoring.

The way most of us speak with strangers, acquaintances, and even close friends is markedly different from how we talk when we're alone with our partner.

When we're with others, most of us "self-monitor." That is, we try to please the people around us by adapting our behavior to suit theirs.

But when we're with an intimate partner, we let go of this pattern of behavior and instead "talk fluidly and naturally," Shenk writes. In other words, we stop having to constantly check ourselves before we speak. We're more candid and more open. 

Many of the pairs Shenk talks to in his book have such a relationship. University of California Berkeley psychologist Daniel Kahneman, for example, tells Shenk: "Like most people, I am somewhat cautious about exposing tentative thoughts to others." But after he'd spent a few years working with his research partner, cognitive psychologist Amos Tverksy, "this caution was completely absent."



3. You start to look alike.

In his influential 1987 study, psychologist Robert Zajonc found that there's a very obvious reason that married couples start to look alike: They use the same muscles so often that, over time, they start to mirror each other. 

This coordination of movement isn't accidental, says Shenk. Instead, it "reflects what psychologists call a 'shared coordinative structure,' which includes how we harmonize our gaze, body sway, and the little mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of how we speak.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A mathematical formula reveals the secret to lasting relationships

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Mathematics of Love infinity

If you're fortunate enough to find someone you want to settle down with forever, the next question is: How do you achieve happily ever after?

According to mathematician Hannah Fry, it may come down to a simple formula.

Fry, who works at the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in London, explains in her 2014 TED Talk and recently released book, "The Mathematics of Love," that the best predictor of long-lasting relationships is how positive and negative a couple can be to one another.

In her book, she discusses the groundbreaking work of psychologist John Gottman and his team. Over many years they observed hundreds of couples and noted their facial expressions, heart rates, blood pressure, skin conductivity, and the words they used in conversation with their partners.

They discovered low-risk couples have more positive interactions with each other, and high-risk couples tend to spiral into negativity.

Mathematics of Love TED Talk

As Fry puts it, "In relationships where both partners consider themselves as happy, bad behavior is dismissed as unusual." For example, a wife might assume her husband's grumpiness is due to stress at work or a bad night's sleep. 

"In negative relationships, however, the situation is reversed," writes Fry. "Bad behavior is considered the norm." A husband, for instance, might think his wife's grumpiness is "typical," due to her "selfishness" or other negative personality trait.

Gottman then teamed up with mathematician James Murray, and they began to understand how these spirals of negativity happen. They came up with the below equations, which predict how positive or negative a husband and wife will be at the next point in their conversation.

As Fry explains, the model is framed as husband and wife but also applies to same-sex spouses and unmarried couples in long-term relationships.

Mathematics of Love long-lasting formula

The wife's equation is the top line, the husband's the bottom, and it solves for how positive or negative the next thing they say will be.

In hers, w stands for her mood in general, rwWt represents her mood when she's with her husband, and IHW shows how the husband's actions influence her. The husband's follows the same pattern.

Mathematics of Love formulas

Gottman and Murray found that the influence a couple has on each other is the most important factor. If a husband says something positive, like agrees with his wife or makes a joke, the wife will likely react positively in turn. Meanwhile, if he does something negative, like interrupts her or dismisses something she's said, she will likely be negatively impacted.

The "negativity threshold" pinpoints when the wife becomes so frustrated by her husband that she responds very negatively.

Interestingly, Fry says she would have imagined that the best relationships would have a high negativity threshold, meaning they'd be focused on compromise and would bring up an issue only if it was "a really big deal." But in fact, the opposite is true.

"The most successful relationships are the ones with a really low negativity threshold," writes Fry. "In those relationships, couples allow each other to complain, and work together to constantly repair the tiny issues between them. In such a case, couples don't bottle up their feelings, and little things don't end up being blown completely out of proportion."

Happy couples, then, tend to have more positive interactions than negative ones, and thus are more likely to give each other the benefit of a doubt. When there is an issue, they're more likely to bring it up quickly, fix it, and move on.

"Mathematics leaves us with a positive message for our relationships," Fry says, "reinforcing the age-old wisdom that you really shouldn't let the sun go down on your anger."

Watch Fry's TED Talk on the mathematics of love below.

 

SEE ALSO: How to use math to find the best job candidate — or spouse

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This photographer captured the same couples over a 30-year period — and the changes are remarkable

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Barbara Davatz

In 1982, photographer Barbara Davatz found 12 young, interesting, urban couples and decided to take their portraits. Little did she know, her little side project would continue for up to 30 years. 

"I started [the portraits] in 1982 with initially no intention of continuing the series," Davatz told Business Insider. She went on to photograph the same people in 1988, 1997, and again in 2014. The project now covers three generations of people. 

Her new book, "As Time Goes By", shows the remarkable changes that her subjects have gone through over the last 30 years. The series will be on display at Fotostiftung Schweiz in Zurich, Switzerland, from February 27 to May 16.

SEE ALSO: 14 candid family photos from the 1970s show the quirky ways Americans celebrate the holidays

Despite being a professional photographer for 40 years, Davatz still found time to work on personal projects like this one.



"I believed very strongly in the project, [I] loved it — considered it my 'life work' and my most important work," Davatz told Business Insider.



A lot changed over the years with Davatz's subjects — not just their looks. Sometimes there was a change of partners, or the subjects became parents and even grandparents.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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