- Arun Nevader/ Getty
- eHarmony helped conduct “The Happiness Index” which surveyed over 2,000 people in relationships to find out what made them happy.
- The study found that partners who describe their relationships as “perfectly happy” have similar personalities, political views, and educational backgrounds.
- These couples also have frequent sex, open communication, and equal power dynamics.
Although every relationship is unique, the ones that work seem to have found a secret to success.
To find out what makes successful couples happy, eHarmony commissioned Harris Interactive to survey 2,327 people around the country and in diverse relationships and asked them about their love lives. The result is “The Happiness Index.“
INSIDER spoke with eHarmony’s CEO Grant Langston about the study and found out what traits every “perfectly happy” couple has in common.
1. For starters, both individuals were looking for a meaningful relationship from the beginning.
The study actually debunked a common dating myth that your soul mate will come into your life when you’re not looking for one. In fact, individuals who are actively seeking out connections end up in happier relationships.
“There’s this old idea that if I’m looking, I can’t find it, and when I’m not looking, that’s the moment it appears. That’s not what we see here,” Langston said. “People who sort of bump into a relationship are less happy than people who say, ‘I have to be intentional about this. I have to go out and make this happen for myself.'”
Langston was also surprised that men are more actively searching for relationships than women are. In fact, 67% of men were looking for a long-term relationship when they started dating their significant other.
2. Happy couples got married because they were in love.
While most people get married because they are in love, some wed because of societal pressures, financial stability, and the need for a family. But the couples who said their “I dos” because of love – 44% to be exact – are much happier on average. As many as 70% of people surveyed said sharing a life together is more important than marriage, and 55% of people surveyed said marriage would make their relationship happier.
3. They have frequent sex.
On average, couples who are happy have sex weekly and, in some cases, daily. For example, out of those surveyed, 69% of men reported that they frequently orgasm with their partners, as opposed to 51% of women.
Langston pointed out, however, that while frequent sex is important, most of the couples did not say sex is the most important part of their relationships.
“We see sex as a big role to play but most of these happy couples don’t have this at the top,” Langston told INSIDER. “They understand that if I don’t value intelligence and emotional stability, I’m not going to have a good relationship.”
4. They are monogamous – but they still like to explore sexually.
While only 5% of people reported being in non-monogamous relationships, only 26% of those people reported being happy. On the other hand, of the couples who identify as monogamous, 38% said they were happy in their relationships. Monogamous couples report that they are still open-minded and are open to trying new activities in the bedroom.
- Mark Makela/ Getty
5. Happy couples have similar personality traits.
According to the study, opposites, in fact, do not attract. Couples that have similar interests and hobbies are more likely to be happy together. But, they must also be similar in other parts of their personality as well. For example, they must have the same conflict-resolution tactics. Langston said if one person likes to talk calmly through an argument, while another likes to scream and yell, they will not succeed as a couple.
6. More specifically, they must agree politically.
For the first time in years, Langston said happy couples emphasized the importance of politics in their relationship. In fact, the majority of happy couples report that they voted in the 2018 midterm elections and have open discussions about politics on a regular basis. However, they should have similar political views, Langston said, otherwise, these discussions are likely to turn into arguments.
7. They must have a similar education.
On average, people with more education are happier in their relationships. However, Langston said it’s more important that each person has the same amount of education as their partner to be happy.
8. Happy couples also believe in open communication.
Couples said communication is one of the most important factors in a happy relationship. When it comes to the five love languages, they said words of affirmation are the most useful form of communication, while gift giving is the least important.
9. They share equal power in the relationship.
Of those in happy relationships, 42% said they don’t believe one individual has dominance over the other in their partnership. The shared power trait is especially true in younger generations. Older couples said the men are dominant in making big decisions, in managing household finances, and in the bedroom.
“Only half of the people in this survey said they share equal power in their relationship, which was a shocker,” Langston told INSIDER. “That means half of the people said there is a dominant partner who makes most of the decisions and those relationships are significantly less happy.”
- Anne Hawkin/ Getty
10. They have great health.
Although health is important to a happy relationship, 44% of couples are affected by mental health issues, according to the study. However, couples who were able to openly discuss their health issues are considered significantly happier.
11. They have two children, typically.
Although all families look different, this study found that of the couples who reported happiness, the majority had two children.
12. On average, couples that said they were happy are younger in age.
Of those surveyed, the majority of happy couples are younger, typically between the ages of 25 and 44 years old. “We feel invigorated by the positivity shown by the youngest couples among us and by those who have embraced a sense of cultural awareness, and it’s clear that for a growing number of people across generations, qualities like intelligence and happiness are considered desirable in a partner,” Langston said in a press release.