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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What Makes Couples Happy?

In order to figure out what goes into the making of a happy 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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11,000 Couples

Typically, relationship studies only look at a few variables. 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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The Study Found It's Important To Trust Your Judgment

According to CNN, the researchers concluded it's the way you view your relationship, that contributes most to the overall quality of your connection.

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Committed Equals Satisfaction

"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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Forget About "Your Type"

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 happiness actually stems more from the dynamic you create with a partner, rather than who you are with.

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Mutual Appreciation Is Important

From there, researchers also zeroed in on other factors that had an impact on the relationship, and happiness levels. 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 Predicts Future Happiness

While more research is 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.