Monday, February 20, 2017

10 Ways to Know if Your Relationship Will Last

By Kristen Wicander, Joshua Jones, Rachel Harmon, Emily Townley, and Keara Moore

If you're in a relationship or even if you're just curious, take a look at some of these points to figure out if your relationship has what it takes to last. Let's get started!

1. You find your partner attractive!

The saying goes, “don’t judge a book by it's cover”, but in relationships the “cover” plays a more important role than you may think. Researchers have found that physical attractiveness is one of the most important characteristics in both sparking romantic interest and continuing a happy, successful relationship. The "what-is-beautiful-is-good" stereotype also claims that people often believe that physical attractiveness is associated with desirable personality traits. While in modern society the role of physical attraction in relationships can often be underplayed, it is important the feelings are positive and reciprocal. So you better make sure that your partner is as attracted to you as you are to him/her!

2. You constantly talk to one another!
Communication is key! It is important to understand the characteristics of your partner so that you may know what is necessary to keep one another satisfied. There is a study that shows evidence of a necessity to have similar levels of emotional intelligence (EI). This is crucial because it helps you better understand your partner. Do your best to frequently and openly communicate with you partner, especially about important topics or concerns. Nobody is a mind reader so make sure that your partner verbally hears what is on your mind!

3. You invest time in one another!
Investment in a relationship is measured by the amount of time and effort you put into your relationship. Because we cannot get back the time and effort we invest after we invest it, consistently investing in your relationship can raise your level of commitment. And according to Rusbult's investment model, the higher one’s commitment to a relationship is, the longer that relationship is expected to last (Rusbult 1980).

4. You confide in your partner!
Let me put this plain and simple: if you cannot trust your partner, your relationship is as good as dead. There is a hypothesis known as the “Dyadic Trust Scale” in which better relationships involve more mutual beliefs of benevolence and honesty. This continues into the need for self-disclosure: the ability to confide in your partner not only lifts a weight off of your shoulders, but also allows for the development of a greater level of closeness when discussing sensitive topics. When it comes to maintaining relationships, honesty way very well be the best policy.

5. You believe you're sexually compatible!
While sex is often viewed as a taboo subject to discuss, it is an important aspect of many intimate relationships and plays a significant role in relationship success. Many people believe that sexual compatibility means that each partners' specific sexual preferences must be in perfect alignment. However, one study showed that perceived sexual compatibility is actually more important. As long as each partner believes that the other's matches their own sexual desires and beliefs, there is greater likelihood of relationship satisfaction. Other studies show that specifically in heterosexual relationships, frequent penile-vaginal intercourse and consistent vaginal orgasm can lead to higher relationship intimacy. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about sex because chances are you will only get better and be more satisfied!

6. You feel you have equal roles in the relationship!
When you imagine what an average relationship looks like, what do you picture? Fifty years ago, you would likely imagine a scene from a 1950s sitcom in which the husband comes home to his doting housewife after a long day at work. Nowadays, however, this traditional relationship, formed by set gender roles, is no longer as prevalent. One study showed that young adults viewed egalitarian relationships, in which the gender roles are interchangeable, as more satisfying. This type of relationship is prefered over one marked by an unequal share of responsibilities. And these beliefs aren’t unfounded! Studies support that married couples experience the greatest relationship satisfaction when both partners are income earners and equally divide the household responsibilities. Clearly, when both people in the relationship think of each other as equals, then the relationship is more likely to last!

7. You value the same things!

Jantoo Cartoons

As relationships progress through different phases (including the stimulus phase, the value phase, and the role phase), one must focus on forming a deeper attachment based on mutual values and beliefs. The key to developing a secure attachment within a relationship is support and trust. If you have dissimilar values, it can lead partners to feel unsupported, uncomfortable, and dissatisfied within a relationship. So before getting too involved with a partner, be sure that you are on the same page about core values and difficult issues.

8. There's equity in your relationship!

Equity is the balance of contributions and benefits among partners. Unlike just sharing similar chores around the house, equity in a relationship involves the "costs" of a relationship being equal to that of the "rewards" of that same relationship. If the costs and rewards of a relationship were to be uneven, a non-equitable relationship would be the result. While it may be possible to maintain a relationship with no equity, according to equity theory, the complications in a relationship that a lack of equity causes would be very difficult to overcome. In order to improve the quality of your relationship, it is crucial to maintain balance.

9. Conflict is unavoidable in relationship, so you balance the bad with the good!
Conflict, conflicto, conflit, konflikt, Конфликт... From English to Russian, conflict exists everywhere, so of course it's going to turn up in your relationship at some point. A wide variety of aspects can lead to conflict between partners: finances, roles and responsibilities, communication issues, sex, and thoughts about the future (among others). One study discusses how the real issue is not the conflict itself, but rather how partners respond to it. Stable couples seek to maintain a balance between the positive and negative. This means that when a negative conflict arises, partners more often seek out a positive reward in order to regain balance. Couples that stay together also give and receive forgiveness during conflict. Forgiveness has a positive effect on relationships because it helps to reaffirm intimacy, communication, and commitment. So remember: say that you’re sorry, and actually mean it!

10. You're intimate on many different levels!

"Did you get intimate last night?" asks your friend, as if intimacy is a curse word. However, when we think about intimacy in a relationship, it usually involves the emotional aspect between partners. Intimacy should involve feelings of liking and being emotionally close with a partner. One study tells us that there should be a deeper level of comfort in which each partner can openly discuss a wide variety of topics, be supportive and understanding, and validate one another. Intimacy is developed on a variety of levels: intellectual, affective, interpersonal, and physical. So don't think that intimacy is just between romantic partners! According to Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love, intimacy can be linked to passion, as in romantic relationships, but also to decision/committment, as in friendships or familial relationships.


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