Now scientists are saying ankle restraints and handcuffs just aren’t enough to bond two people together forever, and the most important element of a strong relationship is actually good old fashioned friendship.
Researchers found that couples who placed a higher value on companionship and friendship over other parts of life – such as sex and personal fulfilment, were more likely to prosper in long-term relationships.
“The results indicate that valuing the friendship aspect of a romantic relationship is important to relationship quality,” said lead author Laura VanderDrift, of Purdue University in Indiana.
“It seems likely that placing greater importance on the friendship component of the relationship relative to other components (e.g. sex) may promote lasting relationships.”
The findings were gathered from two experiments and later published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
For the first experiment, 190 students who had been in a relationship for an average of 18 months were asked to fill out a questionnaire assessing how much investment they put into different aspects of their relationships and lives.
Four months later, 27% were no longer with their partners. Researchers found that these people had invested far less in the friendship aspect of their relationships than those who were still happily coupled up.
The second experiment involved 184 students who had been in a relationship for an average of 16 months. These volunteers were asked to rate the value of certain aspects of their relationships on a scale of one (little value) to nine (high value).
People who placed high value on ‘companionship’ also tended to score highly for romantic commitment and sexual fulfilment, suggesting that a solid friendship leads to a healthy sex-life and long-term monogamy.
Those who rated personal needs as more important than their relationships scored lower on sexual fulfilment and commitment, suggesting that people who have a strong personal ambition are less likely to enjoy being in, or staying in relationships.
In life there are a million different paths to choose from. Some people desire to be one half of a comfortable relationship, while others get itchy feet and feel the need to travel, focus on their careers, or concentrate on making themselves happy.
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