So this week we have been blessed with a contribution from the love experts over at eHarmony. I want to thank them for not only contributing to our Beginners Guide to Online Dating but also sharing some of the best discount codes to help my lovely users save when joining their site.
Below eHarmony have shared some insights into what makes a relationship last and how to tell if the relationship you are in, is for keeps!
IT’S ALL VERY WELL MEETING SOMEONE WE CAN GET ALONG WITH, BUT HOW DO WE KNOW IF THE RELATIONSHIP WILL LAST? LUCKILY FOR US, PSYCHOLOGISTS HAVE SPENT YEARS RESEARCHING THIS VERY QUESTION. THEIR FINDINGS MAY SEEM SIMPLE, BUT THE IMPLICATIONS FOR LASTING LOVE ARE PROFOUND.
KINDNESS IS FOR KEEPS
The hint of a mean streak can be appealing – indeed, the image of the edgy bad boy (or girl) has captured the imaginations of writers and romantics for generations. But while the Heathcliffs of the world are intriguing, the reality is that meanness kills relationships.
Longitudinal studies carried out by researchers at the The Gottman Institute suggest that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in couples.
Being kind makes the recipient of that kindness feel cherished, understood and confident. It also makes them more likely to be kind themselves – thus establishing a positive feedback loop that makes both partners feel warm and fuzzy inside.
So how do we know if someone’s kind? Observe how they deal with people. Are they kind to waiters, shop assistants and family? More importantly, how do they react when things aren’t going well? Do they continue to treat people nicely? Or do they lash out? Taken together, these responses should give you a good idea whether your partner will be kind to you as the relationship develops.
BEND BUT NOT BREAK
Compromise is a key ingredient in lasting love, says Priscilla Sims, a counsellor at Relate. It becomes increasingly important as the relationship develops and life’s Big Decisions need to be made. Buying a house, having children and making retirement plans will descend into conflict if couples can’t agree on anything.
In the early stages of a relationship, we can test out our ability to compromise with the little things like choosing a restaurant, deciding on a film to watch or arranging a time to meet up. Warning bells should sound if our partner insists on making all the decisions, or won’t change their plans based on our needs.
Of course, it helps if you start off with similar worldviews in the first place. Shared interests and goals will make decision-making easier. Folk wisdom says opposites attract, but whether they stay together after the initial spark has fizzled out is dubious.
TRY AND TRY AGAIN
It may seem dull, but relationships take work. Our ability to overcome life’s hurdles is a true test of a couple’s compatibility. When things get tough, we don’t want to be with someone who bails out on us.
With this in mind, don’t get caught up in trying to make the relationship too easy. For example, it’s ok if you don’t live in the same city – travel and communication are easier than ever. Overcoming small difficulties can be rewarding and stands us in good stead for the future.