Sex & Relationships

A Major New Study Discovered What Makes A Relationship Successful

The key to happiness isn't always what you might think.


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Researchers Looked Into What Makes Couples Happy

In order to figure out what goes into the making of a good relationship, Samantha Joel, the lead author of a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 11,000 couples.

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The Team Analyzed Data From 11,000 Couples

Typically, relationship studies only ever look at a few variables at a time. But Joel and her team used 43 data sets, that tracked partners for about a year, to determine the extent to which they could predict the quality of relationships, as well as which measures best predict it.

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It's Your Own Judgment That Matters Most

According to CNN, the researchers realized it's the way you view your relationship, that contributes more to the overall quality of your connection, rather than either of your personalities.

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Couples Who Feel Committed Are Most Satisfied

Also noted in the study: "People’s own judgments about the relationship itself — such as how satisfied and committed they perceived their partners to be, and how appreciative they felt toward their partners — explained approximately 45% of their current satisfaction."

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You Don't Have To Date "Your Type"

This is interesting because we often think it's necessary to find someone whose personality perfectly meshes with our own, or someone who is our "type." But Joel said success actually stems more from the dynamic you create with a partner, rather than who you are with.

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Mutual Appreciation Was Important, Too

From there, researchers zeroed in on other factors that had more of an impact on the relationship than a person's own characteristics. These were: perceived partner commitment, appreciation, sexual satisfaction, perceived partner satisfaction, and conflict levels.

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A Sense Of Security Leads To Success

While personal issues and individual struggles could impact the quality of your relationship, the study found what matters most is how satisfied and secure you feel in your relationship. Those factors will see you through.

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A Relationship Is More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

In short, "when it comes to a satisfying relationship, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick," Joel told CNN, adding "it seems to me that the relationship is more than the sum of its parts."

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Current Satisfaction Could Predict Future Happiness

While more research will be necessary to assess how relationships change over time, if you work on building a strong foundation — aka, one of comfort and security — chances are you and your partner will likely be happy in the future, too.