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A good relationship might be more about couple dynamic than personality

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 29, 2020

What makes a successful relationship? As some couples have found out during the pandemic, and researchers have scientifically discovered, it may boil down to how you engage with each other and how committed each partner is.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at responses from more than 11,000 romantic couples, tracked over about a year.

“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,” the study’s authors note. “The partner’s judgments did not add information, nor did either person’s personalities or traits.”

Top relationship-specific predictors of relationship quality:

  • Perceived partner commitment
  • Appreciation
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Perceived partner satisfaction
  • Conflict

A person's own perception of their relationship accounted for about 45 percent of their current satisfaction with their relationship at the onset of a study, and about 18 percent by the end of the study.

The study’s authors note the results are based on self-reporting and more study is needed over a longer period of time to see if these characteristics hold true over the long run.

If you haven’t lately, it might be a good time to let your partner know that you appreciate them.