Chances are, you know couples who seem very happy together — no matter what curve balls life may throw at them, at the end of the day, their happiness together shows. Maybe you’re in a relationship like that, too, have been in the past, or desire one. If you wonder what happy couple looks like, from how much sex they have to where they live, you're in luck.
eHarmony just found out what self-described "perfectly happy" couples have in common through their inaugural “The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America” report. The online survey took place from November 27-December 3, 2017, and 2,084 online interviews were conducted among people aged 18+ who were married or in a long-term relationship. So, suffice it to say, the participants had experience to draw from when it comes to revealing what happiness looks like in a romantic relationship.
As eHarmony CEO Grant Langston tells Bustle, they found that the happiest couples shared important similarities with each other — they were ambitious, optimistic, and confident. As for couples who weren't happy, they were especially likely to say that they got together because "it was just time", aka they felt societal or parental pressure to get into a relationship. But luckily, the majority of couples in the survey did report happiness.
According to the survey, 64 percent of Americans say they’re “very happy” in their romantic relationships, and 26 percent of say they’re “perfectly happy.” As for which age group reported having the happiest relationships of all, it’s Millennials aged 25-to-34. I know — what exactly does “happy” mean? Below, you’ll find a breakdown of what happiness looks like for couples.
1. They Have Open Communication
You probably hear it all the time when it comes to romantic relationships: Communication is key. According to eHarmony’s survey, almost 3/5 couples reported having completely open communication with their partner or spouse. Interestingly, millennial men were most likely to say this.
2. They Do Romantic Gestures
If you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you probably know that sometimes official date nights go out the window — especially with so many binge-watching options on Netflix these days. However, eHarmony found that certain romantic gestures, including date nights, can help up the happiness quotient in your relationship. For instance, at least monthly, 65 percent of couples go out on a date night and 72 percent hold hands when out for a walk. Men, 67 percent, were more likely to report romantic gestures on a monthly basis, i.e., writing an affectionate note.
3. They're Affectionate
Aside from the hand-holding above, other types of affection bode well for happiness in romantic relationships, too. For instance, the survey found that 68 percent of respondents say “I love you” daily, and 65 percent kiss each other on the mouth for a second or two each each day.
4. They Have Sex Much More Frequently Than Average
Six in 10 people have sex at least weekly, eHarmony found. Among those, the highest percentage was among millennials of the 25-to-34-year-old age range, at 85 percent, followed by 79 percent among younger millennials 18-to-24 and 77 percent among those Gen X'ers 35-to-44.
But what's interesting is that 62 percent of extremely unhappy people in relationships report having sex daily or weekly, which came in second to the happiest couples in America, so more sex doesn't exactly equal a better relationship.
5. They Are Around The Same Ages With Certain Personality Traits
Each person in the “perfectly happy” couple is likely to be the same age, eHarmony discovered. In addition, people in happy relationships have these personality traits — they are optimistic, creative, confident, and sociable.
6. They Have A Wide Circle Of Friends
Happy couples have a wide circle of friends, the survey found. As you probably know, some people “forget” all about their friends when they start dating somebody, but eHarmony’s findings show that having a big circle of friends is healthy and a key to being a happy couple.
7. They Are Happier If They Are On Their First Marriage
Happiness is greatest for those in a first marriage, the survey revealed. Meanwhile, those who remarry tend to get along better with their spouse.
8. They Are Happy With Both Higher *And* Lower Incomes
While you may assume that more money may mean more happiness, that isn’t necessarily true. While eHarmony uncovered that those with the highest household income reported the highest level of both happiness and satisfaction with their relationships, they also found that those with a lower income level were also happy. Specifically, 71 percent of people with a household income of more than $200,000 say they are completely in love, yet those making less than $30,000 a year come in second place, so to speak, at 65 percent.
9. They Live In Cities
Respondents who live in cities or urban areas tend to be happier in their relationships than those who don’t.
10. They Go To Therapy
Of the couples surveyed, 17 percent have had relationship therapy, mostly as a couple, and almost two-thirds of those who haven’t would consider it in the future if it were necessary. Men were almost twice as likely as women to have relationship therapy, particularly among Millennials aged 25-to-44 and those on their first marriage.
11. They Do Not Argue A Lot
Only 1 /5 respondents argue with their spouse or partner weekly, the survey found. Arguing spikes for Gen Xers 35-to-44, then steadily declines with age. While eHarmony discovered that less fighting correlates with being happier, in addition, they realized that people who are extremely unhappy also fight less.
So there you have it — the key to being a “perfectly happy” couple.