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Does compatibility even matter when it comes to long-term love?


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A soul mate is often thought of as someone who just gets you and shares your quirks and commonalities, whether it’s your love of avocado toast, puppies, or obsession with hitting the gym—or even a boutique fitness class with puppies. Interestingly though, compatibility might not be the most crucial factor for making your relationship work for the long run.

Ted Hudson, PhD, told Thrive Global that his research has shown “there’s no difference in the objective compatibility between couples who are unhappy and those who are happy.” He found compatibility wasn’t an issue for couples who were happy in their relationships: Those couples made it clear that their will to keep their bond strong—not how alike they were—was to thank for their relationship’s success. Unhappy couples, on the other hand, claimed compatibility to be super important to a marriage but didn’t feel they were compatible with one another—AKA, they didn’t get along very well.

“There’s no difference in the objective compatibility between couples who are unhappy and those who are happy.” —Ted Hudson, PhD

What Dr. Hudson found was that while unhappy couples tend to blame their unhappiness on compatibility, relationship success is achieved by people who want to stay together working to do just that. And arranged-marriage data provides evidence to back up this claim: Surveys have shown that couples are happier simply because they choose to stay together and aren’t constantly looking for something or someone better.

According to John Gottman, PsyD, building something meaningful together, supporting each other’s life dreams, looking up to one another, and respecting each other are the most significant factors for being just as in love 50 years down the road as you were on day one.

Hey, no one said this soul mate business would be without work—but none of the most worthy things are, right?

Here’s why “defining the relationship” is key to a healthy love connection. Or, score some great relationship advice from veritable love guru Kristen Bell.

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