How can you tell if your relationship will last? Some people think there’s a mathematical formula that can tell how your relationship will hold up over time, but most of us are more old-fashioned, we'd like to think it's basic things: how well you get along, if you have the same interests, if your friend and family like your significant other. We'd like to think that, but it's probably not the case. A lot of the ways we can predict relationships will last are a whole lot weirder.
It will vary from couple to couple (there are a million different ways a relationships can go right or wrong) but studies have shown just how strange compatibility can look. You might have your own criteria— for me, it's whether or not the person let's me have 92 percent of the blanket each and every night, or whether they’re OK with the fact that I will always and forever eat their french fries, no matter how many portions I’ve ordered for myself. I might be weird, but there are some even weirder ways to predict whether or not a relationship will work out. Here are some of the strangest predictors for a happy relationships that studies have found:
1. Your Ability To Create A Secret Language
I don't mean write one from scratch with code and hieroglyphics, but in happy long-term couples a secret language between the two of them seems to develop. According to The New York Times "researchers at the University of Illinois found that in happy marriages husbands were much better than were strangers at understanding exactly what their wives meant. But in distressed marriages, strangers were as adept at understanding messages from wives as were their own husbands."
2. How Much You Spend On The Engagement Ring
Bigger isn't always better. When it comes to marriage lasting Emma McGowan writes that in a study by Emory University "men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than those who spent between $500 and $2,000... However, they also found that dropping less than $500 was also correlated with higher divorce rates." So some kind of middle ground is the way forward.
3. Kindness And Generosity
OK, those might just sound like basic traits everyone would want in a partner. But research shows it's actually key for long term happiness. Psychologist John Gottman has studied thousands of couples over the past 40 years and has found that by watching interaction he can predict with 94 percent certainty how they'll do long term, according to The Atlantic. The key? The Atlantic says: "Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?" Gottman explained to them in an interview that in successful couples "they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully." While unsuccessful couples "are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”
4. Dollars And Sense
It's not so much about having money you have, it's about being on the same page about how you look at and handle it. Or, as Psychology Today puts it, having "compatible financial values". Jeffrey Dew of The National Marriage Project says that those "who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over 30 percent more likely to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times per month", so make sure you have the same financial priorities.
5. If You Like Horror Movies
For serious. I know it sounds a little bonkers, but it's true. It's from the creators of OkCupid, who obviously have a wealth of data at their disposal, "based on a ‘compatibility algorithm’ they created from the answers to survey questions, they came up with three questions above all others that determine if a couple has long-term potential", according to The Telegraph. The other two questions? "'Have you ever travelled around another country alone?' and 'Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?'" Maybe it's time to try them on a first date.
6. Your Level Of Education
A study by Norwegian Institute of Public Health looked at 18,000 heterosexual couples and found that "for both men and women, people with less than a four-year college education were more likely to see their relationship end over the course of the study", according to Psychology Today.
7. How Annoying You Are On Facebook
We all hate it, but it's apparently good for your relationship. New research from University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that all of that Facebook PDA actually reflects on you as a couple. Looking at 212 people in a relationship and their Facebook interaction with their significant other found that the over the top relationship Facebooking actually reflected a real life commitment. According to the authors the "more participants listed themselves as 'in a relationship’' with their partners, shared dyadic photographs, and wrote messages on their partner's wall, the more commitment they experienced" over six months of surveys. This is probably because the bolstering of their relationship online shaped and boosted how they feel about their relationship offline. Good news for them, bad news for everyone else in the world.
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