“My Ex Is Dating Someone New. How Do I Use The Decoy Effect To Get Them Back?”

(Go back to part 4 of this episode here)

The next question is from Kelsey who wants to know more about how the decoy effect works in dating.

Kelsey says,

“Is the decoy effect primarily effective in rebound situations or can it work when a significant amount of time has passed since the breakup and your ex is in a relationship with somebody new that’s already longer than the one that you were in with them?

It seems to me in that case that there’s less of a basis for your ex to remember or choose the new you since they didn’t spend that much time with the old you.


It’s not even necessarily about how much time your ex spent with you.

The original decoy effect actually comes from a book called Predictably Irrational where a behavioral psychologist named Dan Ariely conducted a study with students in his class.

He offered them to choose basically either an online subscription to (I think it was) The New York Times.

So it’s either an online subscription to The New York Times or print version of The New York Times.

And people could choose whichever one they thought would be most valuable. Each one was at a certain price point or something like that.

The responses that people got were okay.

Well, I don’t know if that’s better or the print one is better. If the online one is better, I don’t know.

There was a pretty mixed result.

Eventually, he had a certain survey that he gave another group of students and it was something along the lines of this and you know maybe the number is a little bit off but it’s something like this.

You can either get the print version of The New York Times for $100 subscription.

Or you can get the online version for say a $75 subscription.

Or you can get the online and print version for a $75 subscription.

People don’t know if the online version is better than the print version or if the print version is better than the online version and they certainly don’t know which one is more valuable.

What they do know is that the print and online version for the same price as the online version is more valuable than just the print version, right?

And so they noticed that a lot more people were signing up for that because the online-only version was not really there as something that people would seriously consider buying. It was just there psychologically to get people to sign up for the print and online edition of The New York Times.

How this translates over is that The Decoy Effect strategy actually applies to all sorts of different dating and relationship scenarios.

If you read the book, he applies it to all sorts of things in terms of dating and relationships, in terms of people’s attractiveness and things like that.

What you may notice is that we don’t know if the old version of you is better than the person that your ex is in a relationship with or dating right now, right?

I don’t know, is that better than the old version of you? Is it better than the new version of you?

I don’t know.

But if you have made demonstrable changes, improved your way of being and your ability to connect with your ex on an emotional level, then the new version of you is definitely better than the old version of you.

The old version of you serves as that decoy that nobody is seriously considering dating just like the online-only subscription to The New York Times.

What you can do is you can leverage this to draw attention towards the new version of you.

The new version of you is the one that’s getting more of your exe’s attention because it’s very clear to compare things that are similar.

The old version of you and the new version of you are easily comparable.

Any version of you versus somebody else is more difficult to compare.

The online version versus the print subscription, those are difficult to compare.

But, the online version AND the print version is obviously better than online only.

It’s through this that we can leverage the decoy strategy to actually help us to get into a relationship with an ex and show them that we are having a better emotional with them than they have with anyone else.

And it doesn’t really involve them having to spend time with you, date you, or them having to get to know you.

All it requires is for your ex to see you as an improvement over the old version of you, right?

Just like how it’s not necessary for somebody to experience the online-only subscription to The New York Times.

Or it’s not necessary for somebody to like literally go out on a date with somebody who’s similar looking to you but slightly less attractive than you as they did in one experiment in the book Predictably Irrational. It’s not necessary for that to happen.

People can look at similar things and make easier comparisons between them. That’s really what’s happening with the decoy strategy.

I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here.

Continue to part 6 of this episode here.

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