Study: Idealizing Your Partner Leads to a Happier Marriage



We’re often told that the key to a great relationship is finding someone who loves you exactly as you are, flaws and all. And it’s a lovely sentiment for sure, but according to research done on the topic, it’s not quite accurate.

New York magazine breaks down a three year-long study in which researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of British Columbia found that people tend to be happier and more satisfied in their relationships when they have an idealized view of their partner. In other words, people are happier when they believe their significant other lives up to their expectations of a perfect mate, even if they actually don’t.

In the study, 200 couples were surveyed about a series of positive and negative behavioral traits (things like patience, intelligence, moodiness and immaturity). Twice a year, each individual was asked to rate themselves, their partner and an imaginary person who would be their perfect match. They were also given a survey to determine marriage satisfaction.

The researchers found that people who idealized their significant other—those who reported that their partner’s traits were the same as those of their perfect match, even if their partner didn’t acknowledge those traits in him- or herself—had higher levels of marriage satisfaction than couples with realistic views of one another.

Interesting, huh? Take a look at all of the findings here.

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