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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.
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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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.
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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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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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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