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8 signs you're in a strong relationship


even if it doesn't feel like it
So how do you know if your relationship is terrific -- or heading
south?
Shana Lebowicz, Business Insider | Friday 12 August 2016 | !

6. Cheating on a partner during a relationship (19 per cent)

Here's the thing about relationships.


Sometimes they're candlelit date nights, and walks through grassy
meadows, and feeding each other cake at your wedding.
But sometimes they're doing the dishes, and comforting a screaming
baby, and fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes or comfort the

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Which is to say, while sometimes your love and passion for each other
is obvious, sometimes it's really, really not.
So how do you know if your relationship is terrific -- or heading south?
Psychologists have spent years studying the traits that are fundamental
to successful long-term relationships and come up with a few key ideas.
We rounded up some of their most surprising insights below.
A word of caution: If you notice that your relationship doesn't meet all
these criteria, that does not necessarily mean you should end things
with your partner. Consider this list a general set of guidelines that can
help you start evaluating whether your current relationship is bringing
you satisfaction and happiness.
You think about your partner often when you're not together
In 2007, researchers randomly dialed nearly 300 married people and
asked them a series of questions about their relationships, as well as
how in love they felt.
Results showed that certain relationship characteristics were linked to
stronger feelings of love. One especially interesting finding: The more
often people reported thinking about their partner when they were apart,
the more in love they felt.
The same study included a follow-up experiment with nearly 400
married New Yorkers, which found that difficulty concentrating on
other things while you're thinking about your partner is also linked to
strong feelings of love -- especially for men.
You respond positively to each other's good news
Business Insider's Lauren Friedman has reported that one litmus test of
a happy relationship is how enthusiastically each partner responds to
the other's good news.
A Psychology Today blog post breaks down four ways a man could
respond after his wife tells him she got a promotion at work:

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support: "That's great, honey! I knew you could do it, you've been
working so hard."

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A passive-constructive response would be understated support -- a


warm smile and a simple "That's good news."
An active-destructive response would be a statement that demeaned the
event: "Does this mean you are going to be gone working even longer
hours now? Are you sure you can handle it?"
Finally, a passive-destructive response would virtually ignore the good
news: "Oh, really? Well you won't believe what happened to me on the
drive home today!"
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the response that's most closely linked to
relationship satisfaction is the "active-constructive" response.
You spend some time apart, with your own friends
Over the past few decades, we've started placing increasing demands on
our spouses. As Business Insider's Jessica Orwig has reported, no
longer do we expect them to be financial partners, protectors, and
companions -- now we also want them to provide personal fulfillment.
The psychologist who produced some of these findings, Eli Finkel,
suggests that if you want to be happy in your marriage, it's best not to
look to your partner for all your existential needs. Finkel recommends
finding yourself in hobbies, friends, and work as well.
You have a similar sense of humor
Neil Clark Warren, psychologist and founder of dating site eHarmony,
previously told Business Insider that humor can be a "social lubricant"
in a romantic relationship.
Meanwhile, Business Insider's Erin Brodwin has reported that having a
"private" language with your partner -- i.e. nicknames and jokes that no
one else would get -- can help facilitate bonding and often predicts
relationship satisfaction.

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In one poll, as many as 62% of adults said that sharing chores is very
important to a successful marriage. Interestingly, given societal
stereotypes, there was no difference between men and women.
But while men are doing more housework than they were in years past,
research has found that women still pick up most of the slack.
You try new things together
For a study published in 1993, researchers looked at the relationship
quality of more than 50 middle-aged married couples and assigned
them to one of three groups.
One group picked new and exciting activities to do together for 90
minutes a week -- like going to a play or dancing. Another group spent
90 minutes a week doing pleasant but routine activities together -- like
going to the movies. The last group wasn't asked to change anything.
After 10 weeks, the researchers re-assessed the couples' relationship
quality and found that those who had tried new and exciting
undertakings were the most satisfied.
As The New York Times reported in 2008:
Dr. Aron [one of the researchers behind the study] cautions that novelty
alone is probably not enough to save a marriage in crisis. But for
couples who have a reasonably good but slightly dull relationship,
novelty may help reignite old sparks.
You don't have a lot of extreme downturns in your relationship
Researchers recently looked at nearly 400 dating couples and used their
feedback about their relationships to identify four different patterns of
commitment: dramatic, conflict-ridden, socially-involved, and partnerfocused.
As psychologist and relationships expert Gary Lewandowski explains
on Science of Relationships, dramatic couples showed a lot of
fluctuation in their commitment to their partner over time.

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experienced fluctuations in commitment when they couldn't spend as


much time together.

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Socially-involved couples usually experienced fluctuations when their


friends and family changed what they thought of the relationship.
Finally, conflict-ridden couples fought often and had a lot of
mini-fluctuations in their level of commitment.
As it turns out, partner-focused couples were most likely to get more
serious in their relationship, and dramatic couples were most likely to
break up.
You know how to recover from a fight
Psychologist and relationship expert John Gottman previously told
Business Insider that the No. 1 shared trait among successful
relationships is being able to repair the bond after a fight.
It's not about not having conflict at all -- instead, it's about the way you
approach it. Gottman told Business Insider:
"The thing that all really good marriages and love relationships have in
common is that they communicate to their partner a model that when
you're upset, I listen.
"The world stops, and I listen. And we repair things. We don't let things
go. We don't leave one another in pain. We talk about it, and we repair."
Read more:
This chart is easy to interpret: It says we're screwed
How Uber became the world's most valuable startup
These 4 things could trigger the next crisis in Europe

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. 2016.


Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.
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