A really unique study came out a few weeks ago. It is a longitudinal study (meaning data gathered for a long time) that used machine learning to look for predictors of relationship quality. One of the most interesting things about what the authors state they found was that how we view our relationship is more predictive of relationship quality than anything. In addition, there were no individual factors that were predictive of positive or negative impact.
What this means is that how we view the relationship is more important than how much we have in common. It is a common dating myth that we should be looking for someone who has shared interests, like "being active" or "likes the outdoors" (I swear if I read that one more time on a dating profile). I will tell you straight up, your interests will change when you get married and especially when you have kids. If you base a relationship only on "we like to have fun together", you are in for a rough road in the long term.
So what was the best predictor? Your individual way of being in a relationship. Specifically in this study they list: life satisfaction, negative affect, depression, attachment avoidance, and attachment anxiety.
Additionally, the top relationship-specific predictors of relationship quality were perceived-partner commitment, appreciation, sexual satisfaction, perceived-partner satisfaction, and conflict.
If you want to check out the abstract of the study, you can find it here.
I'm going to take a few blog posts in the next few days to pull apart each of these factors and write more about what that might look like in real life.
What other questions do you have about this new research? Or dating and relationships in general?
Sometimes people will ask me what things they should be looking for in a potential marriage partner. Unfortunately, most people believe they should look for common interests or physical attraction as an indicator of compatibility. Here are the things I believe to be important to look for in a partner.
Is there something you feel I left out or forgot to mention? Let me know in the comments.
I don't think that people get into relationships intending to hurt others. I also don't think that most people are jerks as a general personality trait. And there are far fewer narcissists than people believe their ex to be. :) What I do believe is that good people, in trying to be "nice" or avoid conflict, absolutely become a jerk. Here are a few examples of how it works.
The thing I'm hearing about the most lately is dating apps. So many people are using them because the pandemic has stopped general socializing. I hear about how horrible the apps are with so many people who just stop responding, the dates they go on are awful or that all they get are scammers. Here are some suggestions:
1. When you match with someone, have something ready to start a conversation. Just like you wouldn't go up to a stranger and just say HI and stare at them waiting for them to ask you questions, don't expect the other person to carry the conversation. Conversation starters could be about an activity described in their profile that sparked something for you, or even just what attracted you in their picture. Be specific. "I liked the sparkle in your eyes." or "You seem to really like adventure activities, what was your latest one?" or even just, "Man, this coronavirus stuff is really putting a damper on my social life, want to go do something fun in an appropriately socially distanced way?"
2. Moderate your expectations. You may not hit it off right away. I have spoken with many people who believe they will "just know" when they have met their person. Sometimes a connection takes a bit to develop. Give it a chance to develop. Also remember that you shouldn't be thinking about marriage from the first meeting.
3. Scammers are prevalent in all the dating apps. Ask for in person meetings in a public place. Don't give anyone money. Be wary if someone says they are in love with you quickly.
I'll have another post about dating apps in the future, so be on the look-out!
What questions or problems would you want to learn about? What have you seen others struggle with or what have you struggled with? Is there something you have always wanted to know but didn't know who to ask?
Feel free to leave your questions in the comments. It may just end up as a blog post! If you are interested in having me give you feedback on your dating struggles and are willing to have it be a blog post, go to the contact page and send me a message.
Jen has many years of working with singles after receiving training as an MFT and seeing that many married couples problems start while they are dating. She wants to change marriage by helping singles date better so they marry better.