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?
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.