When you see couples together, your first thought might be about what a happy relationship they have and how content they look. However, there is always more than meets the eye. Just look at the latest celebrity breakup, and you’ll see plenty of examples of how seemingly happy couples are suddenly on their way to divorce court. Relationships can be complicated, and there are so many factors that contribute to whether a couple is happy or downright miserable.
Dating site eHarmony came out with its second annual relationship survey titled The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America 2019. The report was commissioned by eHarmony and conducted by Harris Interactive. The Cheat Sheet chatted with Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony, to get some relationship advice and learn more about the survey.
This survey had lots of surprises
When asked what surprised him most about the eHarmony survey, Langston said he was surprised to see how one’s intent can have an impact on relationship happiness, and how mental health can be affected by the quality of a relationship. “The most surprising findings from this year’s study include the effect intent plays on happiness, how our relationships impact our mental health, how #MeToo has impacted our relationships over the last year, and what men and women desire in each other,” Langston told The Cheat Sheet.
Don’t be passive about finding a romantic relationship
Langston recommends being purposeful about finding love. Unless you put in the effort, you’re not likely to find a meaningful relationship. “Intent influences happiness. Many people have an idea in the back of their head that they’re most likely to find someone when they’re not looking. Our study, however, suggests that those who are intentionally trying to find love end up in happier relationships. Although this is the first time we are confirming this notion, passivity doesn’t seem like a good strategy for anything you’re trying to accomplish in life. It’s only common sense that intent leads to better results, and in this case, happier relationships,” he told The Cheat Sheet.
Attraction isn’t enough to sustain a relationship
If you think your pretty or handsome face will be enough to keep a relationship going strong, you’re wrong. It takes a lot more than good looks to sustain a relationship, according to Langston. “When we looked at desirability in our study, we noticed that people don’t focus on shallow traits. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still in the top five, but traits like intelligence and happiness were rated as the most desirable, with emotional and financial stability closely following. People want to be attracted but are understanding more and more that a long-term relationship has a foundation of like-mindedness and stability,” said Langston.
Perfect the art of communication
There’s no substitute for good communication. Learn how to effectively communicate with your partner to avoid misunderstandings. If you’re having trouble in that area, seek help from a couples counselor. Langston said survey participants noted improved relationship satisfaction after taking steps to improve communications skills.
Date someone similar to you
Although the popular saying is that opposites attract, being too different could lead to disaster. Another key to happiness, according to the eHarmony survey, was finding a partner who shares similar interests. Here’s what Langston had to say on the issue: “The key to a happy relationship is getting together with someone similar to you in a lot of ways. Opposites do not attract. For years, we’ve said that people who are similar in the foundational personality traits have an easier time together–they get along and life seems a lot easier for them. That’s still true, and in fact, to take that a step further, people who have similar levels of education and income have even happier relationships.”
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