Can This Weird Thing Predict Relationship Commitment?
by Kristine Fellizar
Man and woman resting in bedroom, having fun.
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It may not be super noticeable to you at first, but your relationship has a way of changing who you are. You might start picking up habits that your partner does or use language they do that you typically don't. If you have started noticing that you and your partner are becoming the same person, that only means good news for your relationship. According to new research, people in relationships pick up their partner's habits to feel a sense of unity.

"Personalities are our core tendencies. They are essentially who we are, our dispositions, and our ingrained ways of being," licensed clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. tells Bustle. "That being said, relationships pose interesting challenges to our personalities. They can help shape and mold them in new areas and directions. They can also enhance them, make what we have more potent. As you can imagine we must be very careful when we enter relationships to monitor how being with another person impacts who we are. In some cases the great aspects of our personalities come out stronger. In others, it's the not so great that can come out stronger."

Researchers from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, Russia and the National University of Singapore created a pretty neat algorithm that takes relationship patterns from a variety of social media posts and can tell whether a user is single or married. Using data from Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare, the algorithm looks at things such as the number of emotional words and topics that are used in Tweets, the kind of pronouns a person uses, and the places they go, among others.

As researchers found, the algorithm was accurate in predicting relationship status 86 percent of the time. Lately, the algorithm hasn't been getting attention due to its general insight on relationships, but its insight into President Trump specifically. While researchers ran former President Obama through the algorithm and accurately predicted his marital status, Trump's Twitter habits actually identify him as single.

But the study found that in general, people's social media use and personalities do end up changing when they enter into relationships. Here's how:

Your Words Go From "Me" To "We"

According to the study, people stopped referring to their partners as "me and him" or "me and you," and started using "us" and "we." That's important because researchers found that once people enter into the "we" and "us" stage of commitment, they're able to put their relationship above themselves. So being able to spontaneously use those words means you're comfortable identifying yourself as part of a whole, rather than be seen as just an individual.

You Start Picking Up New Hobbies And Habits

The study also found you could be picking up positive hobbies from your partner like volunteering or exercising, or bad habits such as drinking or gambling. As marriage and family therapist and the psychological consultant for social connection app, ROVR, Jacky Falchook tells Bustle, "Being in a relationship can change a person's personality in many ways. On the positive side, if one is in a healthy relationship the person may become more self-confident and motivated toward self-growth. This is true if they are with a partner who is encouraging. One may also seem happier and more up beat, especially in the Romance Stage of the relationship. On the negative side, if a person is in an unhealthy relationship, he or she may become more withdrawn from friends and family."

Regardless of whether you pick up good hobbies or bad habits, the biggest takeaway from the study is, the fact that you're picking up any of your partner's habits at all means you feel a deep level of commitment to them. So don't be weirded out the next time you catch yourself saying things your partner usually says or you see them doing things you normally do. It's a good sign that you're both committed and your relationship is headed in the right direction.