Happy friendships are good for your relationship

It’s great to love spending time with your partner and feeling like two peas in a pod, but mixing with other couples and spending leisure time away from your partner can be a positive strengthening force for your relationship.

Having happy and supportive friendships with other couples can make your relationship more exciting and more fulfilling. It can make you and your partner feel more attracted to each other, giving you a chance to experience how other couples interact and resolve conflict, and helping towards a better understanding of relationships in general [1].

But, couples shouldn’t necessarily just rely on the friends they have in common. A study looking into Facebook friends [2] revealed that it wasn’t the couples who had lots of digital friends in common who had the longest lasting relationships or the most positive interactions. It was the couples whose friends were not connected to each other whose relationships appeared strongest [3].

It’s important to have your own friends, and even to spend some quality time with them away from your partner. Couples who pursue their own activities with friends and alone, as well as spending time with their partner, are tend to be more satisfied with their relationship [4].

Socialising and having friendships outside of your relationship is an integral part of maintaining your individual mental and physical wellbeing. Now it looks like we know they are good for the health of our relationships too. So get organising some double dates and some fun with friends, because time outside of the cocoon of your coupledom seems to be very satisfying for both partners.

References


[1] University of Maryland Baltimore. (2012, January 13). Couples' friendships make for happier marriages, relationships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113211028.htm

[2] Backstrom, L., and Kleinberg, J. (2013). Romantic Partnerships and the Dispersion of Social Ties: A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook. Cornell University. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/pdf/1310.6753v1.pdf

[3] Lohr, S. (2013). Researchers Draw Romantic Insights From Maps of Facebook Networks. New York Times. 28 October, 2013.

[4] Crawford, D.W., Houts, R. M., Huston, T. L., and George, L.J. (2002). Compatibility, Leisure, and Satisfaction in Marital Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64 (2), pages 433–449

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