The Science of Happily Ever After
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Just the Facts1 of 8
By Brienne Walsh
There's no need to leave falling in love up to chance. In his new book, The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, relationship expert and psychologist Ty Tashiro demystifies the dating and mating process, and shares no-nonsense, research-backed advice on finding (and keeping) The One.
Let Lust Go2 of 8
Everyone wants passionate love to last forever, but according to a 14-year-long study conducted by Ted Huston, a professor at the University of Texas, lust inevitably declines. While the intense emotion may be helpful when you first meet a potential partner, it's not as important when it comes to sustaining a sense of happiness in a long-term relationship.
Some Things Are Forever3 of 8
Unfortunately, thinking that a man's character traits will change when he's faced with a sobering life event like marriage or childbirth is asking for disappointment. According to Tashiro, studies that have tracked people from childhood through adulthood show that inherent traits like neuroticism, dependability and kindness don't change across a life span. Instead, they only become more pronounced.
Choose Wisely4 of 8
If your list of what you're looking for in an ideal partner includes things like the color of his eyes and the size of his paycheck, then you risk eliminating way too many people in a dating pool, cautions Tashiro. Instead, he says to keep your list of important traits to three. Based on research by a physics Ph.D. student at Harvard University, asking for just three "wishes" (as Tashiro calls them) narrows the field of candidates by 96 percent.
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Know the Big 55 of 8
Tashiro says that the "Big 5" personality traits to consider in a partner are openness, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. According to researcher Richard Robbins, who surveyed young adults over seven years, neurotics are characterized by high rates of unhappiness and a tendency to sabotage relationships. Tashiro predicts that people with high openness and low conscientiousness are often cheaters, while agreeableness is the best factor for long-term happiness.
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Keep Calm6 of 8
Based on research by R. Chris Fraley, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, when securely attached (i.e. emotionally healthy) adults are in a relationship, their heart rate slows because being around the loved one calms them. Such partners are also calm and content when the loved one is not in their presence because they trust that they will return and provide the same loving attention.
Reduce the Divorce Risk7 of 8
A 31-year-long study of women found that those with "avoidantly attached" partners (i.e. men who had a hard to feeling close to others) had a divorce rate of 50 percent as opposed to women with "securely attached" partners, who divorced only 23 percent of the time. In other words, choosing a partner who is communicative and connected decreases the risk of divorce by half.
Stay Positive8 of 8
Shelly Gable, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that a surefire way to make your relationship better is by amplifying positive feelings in the act of sharing good news. When your partner tells you something exciting has happened, it helps the relationship if you respond with interest and excitement yourself.
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