Have you ever wondered what is the secret behind a happy long-lasting relationship?
Well, a recent study with data from over 11,000 couples has found some interesting results that you must know! Using first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence (AI), they have identified the top predictors that make partners feel positive about their relationship. Surprisingly, they found that characteristics related to the relationship (couple’s perceptions of the relationship itself) were significantly more powerful predictors of relationship quality overall than individual characteristics of couples.
In simpler words, the kind of relationship you build with your partner has a direct impact on your happiness than your individual characteristics like satisfaction with life, anxiety, whether their parents’ marriage worked out, etc.
Some relationship-specific factors which most reliably predicted relationship quality were:
- Perceived partner commitment (eg. “My partner wants our relationship to last forever”);
- Appreciation (eg. “I feel very lucky to have my partner in my life”);
- Sexual satisfaction (eg. “How satisfied are you with the quality of your sex life?”);
- Perceived partner satisfaction (eg. “Our relationship makes my partner very happy”);
- Conflict (eg. “How often do you have fights with your partner?”).
These factors accounted for 45 percent of the variance in the relationship quality of the study! By contrast, individual characteristics only accounted for 21 percent of the variance in the relationship quality.
Some individual factors that most strongly predicted the quality of a relationship were:
- Satisfaction with life;
- Negative affect (eg. feeling distressed or irritable);
- Avoidant attachment (eg. I prefer not to be too close to romantic partners);
- Anxious attachment (eg. I worry a lot about my relationships with others).
The most important thing this study points out is that thought experiencing negative affect, depression or insecure attachment style can hamper a relationship, but if people nonetheless manage to establish a relationship where there is appreciation, sexual satisfaction, healthy conflict resolution and perception of commitment from their fellow partner, then the relationship may thrive irrespective of the individual risk factors.
Another beautiful thing that this study hints at is- The person we choose is not nearly as important as the relationship we build. This finding even makes one question if we are meant to find our soul mates or work towards making someone our soulmate?
Indeed, it is the little things that make up for a happy long-lasting relationship- the inside jokes, the shared hopes and dreams, the jostling, and the occasional sweet nudging.
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