Finally, The Science Behind a Good Romantic Relationship


Our personal relationships are essential to our health, both physically and mentally. Now, an international collaboration of researchers asked what traits in particular contribute to a good romantic relationship.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professors Cheryl Carmichael (The Graduate Center, Brooklyn College) and Claudia Brumbaugh (The Graduate Center, Queens College) were co-authors, along with researchers from Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

“People with high-quality relationships live longer, happier, healthier lives, and recover better from diseases,” Carmichael said. Ideally, an accurate model of good relationships will help researchers design ways to help couples improve their partnership, Carmichael told the Graduate Center.

The study looked at survey responses from over 11,000 romantic couples gleaned from previous studies. Using machine learning, the researchers dug through the data for patterns and predictors of quality relationships.

They found that the strongest factors in predicting a good quality relationship are each partner’s belief that the other is committed to them, appreciation of each other, sexual satisfaction, the belief that the other person is also happy in the relationship, and a lack of conflict.

Factors that have to do with the relationship itself turned out to be more important than personal traits. Things like one partner’s satisfaction with their own life, or whether one partner is experiencing depression do have an impact, but not as much as factors that involve both people.

Beyond SUM

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Cheryl Carmichael (Assistant Professor, Psychology) | Profile 1
Claudia Brumbaugh (Assistant Professor, Psychology) | Profile 1