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A landmark study from Western University has explored what makes relationships successful. If you think it’s whether you or your partner check all the right ‘boxes’, it actually isn’t!
We’ve talked about a few helpful ways to strengthen your relationships like spending more time in nature together, ways to help your strained relationship during lockdown, and the importance of having relationship rituals but what is the real source of relationship satisfaction?
The study, led by Dr. Samantha Joel at Western University, analyzed over 11,000 couples and tracked them for an average of a year. The analysis tried to determine the extent to which they could predict relationship quality and what best predicts happiness.
What the study found
Brace yourself. Those of us who get stuck in thinking that ‘the grass would be greener if my partner/I were ______” are about to get a reality check. Because, guess what? Personality traits aren’t actually the best predictors of happiness.
In fact, it’s the level of satisfaction you have and your perception of your partner’s level of satisfaction that matter.
“When it comes to a satisfying relationship, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick. [It’s] how you’re engaging with each other and whether your relationship leaves you feeling satisfied.”Dr. Samantha Joel, Western University
5 relationship characteristics that best predict relationship happiness
- Perceived partner commitment
- Sexual satisfaction
- Perceived partner satisfaction
- Ability to effectively manage conflict
4 individual characteristics that best predict relationship happiness
- Life satisfaction
- Negative affect
- Quality of relationship attachment
So what does this mean for your relationship?
Give it attention and check-in with each other! Your relationship needs regular tune-ups and attention, like anything, really!
What happens when you leave your plants unwatered for too long…they dry up and die. Granted, relationships are much more complex than plants but you get the gist. Without care and attention, they shrivel up.
Ask yourselves whether your relationship dynamic makes you happy. Does it promote mutual trust? Safety? Appreciation? Support? Comfort?
First and foremost, STOP the mindset of ‘if s/he were ____ things would be better’ or ‘if I were ____ things would be better’. Then start fostering your relationship and undoing any bad habits in communication and conflict management.
Find a solid relationship on the Clover dating app, try our Vibe Check to make sure you’re both on the same page with what you want!
H/T: Psychology Today