Recently, while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the host got into a discussion with noted relationship expert Mandy Len Catron about which personality traits make people more likely to experience enduring romantic love.
While there are a number of different characteristics that indicate a couple is a good match in the short term, for a successful long lasting relationship, there are apparently a few key indicators that can up your odds.
First, both partners should rank high on the agreeability scale. Apparently, extremely opinionated or structured individuals are less likely to go with the flow in a way that makes them a tolerable partner for life.
Next, you want to rank low for neuroticism. All that anxiety, questioning, self-doubt, and skepticism form a toxic shield that can prevent you from falling and staying in love. While someone may be willing to deal with your neuroses for a bit and appreciate what your overactive mind has to offer temporarily, it could be a tough thing to navigate for a lifetime.
And finally, you want to practice moderation when it comes to adventure seeking. The idea here being that it’s good to have an open mind and a sociable, extroverted personality, but you don’t want to be the kind of manic adventurer who selfishly prioritizes their own needs and is always looking for the next big thing at the expense of your partner’s happiness.
(I’m going to trust that the study they kept referencing in the podcast is as valid as social science research can be…)
So, What About Me?
While I have no personal experience to draw from when it comes to the long-lasting love equation, I was hopeful to see that my personality aligns pretty closely with the trifecta.
I’m super easy-going, extremely agreeable (although, I’d argue, almost to a fault), I can sometimes get all up in my head about things, but for the most part don’t feel all that neurotic (especially compared to the majority of my peers), and while I’m certainly in adventure-seeking mode these days, I know that ultimately I want a healthy balance of exploration and staying put. I’m always up to try something new, but I think I have a pretty rational approach and wouldn’t put myself or family at risk unnecessarily.
So, maybe this is all fairly intuitive and I’m just choosing to interpret the research through a self-interested lens (as one does), but I have to say, I definitely breathed a sigh of relief while listening to the episode. It’s reassuring to know I’ve at least got the building blocks for a long-term, happy relationship even if I haven’t quite figured out how to get the ball rolling…