Plus, which type of love is most likely to last
Disclaimer: this new research might make you feel a bit depressed about your relationship, just in time for Valentine’s Day (apologies in advance, but we have collected 8 excellent responses to your friend’s questions about why you’re single, if that is the case).
Anyway, the University of Illinois asked 376 couples to log details about their relationship for nine months, the ways in which they communicate and connect, and to explain the reasons for shifts in their commitment.
The couples obliged and on analysing this data the Daily Mail reports that the team behind the study discovered that there are four different relationship categories and most romantic unions will fit in to one.
The Dramatic Couple
These couplings are characterised by lots of ups and downs emotionally, and in terms of their commitment levels too. Negativity is a strong force in this relationship – each partner tends to make decisions based on bad occurrences in the partnership or pessimistic thoughts about the relationship and this can chip away at commitment. All that inconsistency means these couples are twice as likely to break up.
The Conflict-Ridden Couple
This kind of love can be tricky to sustain. These relationships thrive on the mind-bending tension between conflict (that makes both parties feel discouraged) and passion (which kicks attraction back in to gear). It’s a push-pull cycle. Commitment fluctuates, most commonly straight after an argument. However, exhausting as this all may sound, even when commitment falls in these couplings it doesn’t mean they’ll break up.
The Socially-Involved Couple
This kind of couple reports lots of satisfaction and stability. Their social networks overlap and the friends they share help guide their relationship decisions. ‘Ideally long-term relationships should be predicated on friendship-based love,’ said Brian Ogolsky, a professor from the team that conducted the research ‘And having mutual friends makes people in these couples feel closer and more committed.
The Partner-Focused Couple
This kind of couple is the good kind of co-dependent and very involved with one another’s lives. They are typically the most conscientious and thoughtful partnerships most likely to achieve long-term relationship happiness. It is likely that they share a network of friends but instead of taking relationship cues from this network they respond intuitively to what’s happening in their own relationship and use these events to reinforce their commitment.
As you might have guessed, partner-focused couples are the strongest (most committed and likely to stay that way long-term). However, the good news is your partnership can transition from one category to the next – it’s not a fixed sentence.