Do Long-Term Relationships Make People Happier?
The basis for the majority of normal relationships is love. This feeling is one of the most studied in psychology. Still, it is the least understood. The reason for this is probably the fact that the studies are carried out not in real life but in the labs. To claim whether long-term relationships make people happier or not is a challenging task because of the very essence of happiness itself. This is one of the most subtle subjects, the measuring of which imposes difficulties on scientists from the lack of strictly defined criteria. Both long-term and short-term relationships can make people happy. However, they are markedly different from each other, and it is up to people and their expectations to decide which type of relationship makes them happier at a certain time in their life.
Romance and passion are the inevitable company of relationships. In turn, relationships are not a stable substance. They are constantly developing and moving from one stage to another. In this case, the level of maturity decides the future of the relationships. If people are capable of developing their relationships wisely and reasonably, they are likely to be more satisfied with the outcome. However, this ability requires many efforts, emotional intelligence, experience, and general understanding of the essence of the relationships between genders. In the case of short-term relationships, the couple is either unwilling or incapable of developing their relationship from the point of chemical reactions in the brain and the release of dopamine to something more conscious and mature. It requires good communicative skills and an understanding of oneself, as well as clearly defined values and principles of each partner. With the conscious desire and effort, couples proceed in the development of their relationships, and consequently reach a certain level of satisfaction from the reward they receive for their efforts.
With this evidence, it is more reasonable to speak about the quality of the relationship than general happiness. Superficial, short-term relationships do not reach the point of quality. They remain on the first level of romance and passion, which does not make people unhappy but rather distinguishes them from the couples in long-term relationships. Generally, it does not make sense to speak of who is happier in which type of relationship. Rather, it is more meaningful to speak about the development of intellect and emotional intelligence, as well as the skills to cooperate effectively with the partner for the mutual satisfaction with the relationship of both partners, and consequently, happiness. Some studies suggest that couples without children are more satisfied with their relationship. “For both men and women, those who did not have children ranked the quality of their relationship more highly than those who did” (Bingham, 2014). This evidence might be justified by the fact that this category of couple has much more time for each other, for communication, physical contact, and rest, both together and apart.
In conclusion, it makes sense to say that each type of relationship might bring happiness to individuals taking into account their expectation from the relationships. Long-term relationships require more effort and cooperation from partners. Consequently, they acquire another quality, one which is different from short-term relationships. If the couple is capable of solving conflicts without resentment, guilt, and other negative emotions that often accompany immature individuals, their relationship becomes more valuable in their mind, and consequently may be the reason for increased satisfaction with the relationship. In turn, the level of satisfaction has a direct connection to happiness in relationships.
Bingham, J. (2014, January 12). Happier relationships for couples without children. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/10567260/Happier-relationships-for-couples-without-children.html
Whitbourne, S. K. (2012). The 12 Ties that Bind Long-Term Relationships. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201206/the-12-ties-bind-long-term-relationships
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