There Are 4 Kinds of Couples — But Only One Has Staying Power
Just in time for Valentine's Day, researchers at the University of Illinois have identified four different types of couples and found the one relationship type most likely to lead to marriage and happiness.
The university surveyed 376 couples, asking them to keep a detailed log of how committed (or not so committed) they felt towards their partner over a period of nine months. They concluded that there are four distinct couples categories.
"The four types of dating couples that were found included the dramatic couple, the conflict-ridden couple, the socially involved couple, and the partner-focused couple," said Brian Ogolsky, an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies.
Unsurprisingly, the dramatic couples were more likely to change their level of commitment spontaneously.
"These couples have a lot of ups and downs, and their commitment swings wildly," said Ogolsky. "They tend to make decisions based on negative events that are occurring in the relationship or on discouraging things that they're thinking about the relationship, and those things are likely to chip away at their commitment."
Similarly, the commitment in conflict-ridden couples also varies greatly. However, Ogolsky notes that it doesn't mean they're heading for a break-up."These couples operate in a tension between conflict that pushes them apart, and passionate attraction that pulls them back together." Though, he adds, "This kind of love may not be sustainable in the long term."
On the other hand, socially involved couples seemed to rate much better when it came to commitment levels. "These couples share a social network and rely on that network to make decisions about their commitment," Ogolsky said. "Ideally, long-term relationships should be predicated on friendship-based love and having mutual friends makes people in these couples feel closer and more committed."
And the couples that fared the best: partner-focused couples. "These partners are very involved with each other and dependent on each other, and they use what's happening in their relationship to advance their commitment to deeper levels," said Ogolsky. "These couples have the highest chance of staying together and being happy over time."