Two Factors in Relationship Satisfaction
The relationships we have in life are one of our most important assets. Our connections give us resilience, health, and happiness.
And one of the most important social connections we make in our life is with our significant other. So the quality of that relationship should be pretty important to us right?
So what factors raise the level of that personal relationship? How they measure up to our idea of a perfect mate? Good Communication? How deep a connection we have with them?
There are a number of variables in that equation, but there’s a few you may not have considered.
Research from the University of Texas has found two factors of relationship satisfaction. It depends on who else is in the dating pool, and how desirable you see yourself.
How Ideals Affect Our Behavior
There’s a lot of different ways that we rate someone when looking for a long term partner. There’s intelligence, kindness, health, education, and earning potential just to name a few.
The research team from Texas, whose work was published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, wanted to look know how these ideals influence our behavior.
Daniel Conroy-Beam, a psychologist involved in the research, says their research shows a couple of big ways that our preferences affect our relationships. Mainly, how happy we are with it and how hard we’ll work at keeping our partner. Here’s Daniel:
“We demonstrate that mate preferences continue to shape our feelings and behaviors within relationships in at least two key ways:
by interacting with nuanced emotional systems such as how happy we are with our partner and by influencing how much or little effort we devote to keeping them.”
That doesn’t seem real surprising. The closer our partner is to our idea of a perfect mate, the happier we’ll be and the more we’ll fight to keep them.
But the researchers say that it’s more complex than this. It’s not just how closely they match our idea of a perfect mate.
Factors of Relationship Satisfaction
The study found a couple of factors that affect how happy we are with our relationships.
The first deals with how we compare ourselves to our partner. People who believe that their partner is more desirable than themselves, are generally happy. Even if they didn’t measure up to the idea of their perfect man or woman. So if you think you’re dating out of your league, you’re going to be happy with the relationship. Not a huge surprise.
The second factor deals with how your partner compares with everyone else in the dating pool. If they don’t measure up to your ideals, but exhibit more desirable traits than others in the dating pool, more than likely you’re still going to be happy in the relationship.
The research showed that even if they don’t completely measure up, you’ll still be happy if you see them as better than most of the potential options out there. So it comes down to the size and quality of the dating pool in your social network.
The Perfect Mate
Everyone wants to find someone they can spend the rest of their life with. However, there’s always a debate of whether you should find your soul mate, or someone with whom you can settle down.
For many, it’s a balance between being idealistic and realistic. We don’t want to have impossibly high standards, but you still want to be passionate about them.
Do we need the perfect man or woman?
Here’s what Dan from the research team says:
“Satisfaction and happiness are not as clear cut as we think they are. We do not need ideal partners for relationship bliss.
Instead, satisfaction appears to come, in part, from getting the best partner available to us.”
The researchers hint that to find happiness, we don’t have to find the perfect mate. And those that think they do, might be waiting a long time.