• Couple holding hands

Scientists analyse your ‘relationship graph’ to discover its marriage potential

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but how you rate its chances of success during the peaks and troughs could be a valuable indicator of whether you’re headed for happily ever after, or happily never after.

A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family presented scientists’ analysis of the relationship graphs plotted by 400 couples. Each half of the couple was asked to assess their happiness in the relationship at various junctures, for example meeting family and friends, when spending time together, when spending time apart and following arguments. When the researchers plotted those scores on a graph, they found that some relationships were on a constant uphill trajectory, while others were on a downward slope. Many showed hills and dips, while others followed a more dramatic course, with extreme peaks and extreme lows.

They divided the results into four types of relationship category:



Over a third (34%) of the sample falls into this group. These relationships are defined as “up and down”; each partner’s feelings about their long-term chances of success showing the largest fluctuations. Of the four categories, these couples spend the least amount of time together, are the most critical of the relationship, and are the least likely to have the full support of friends and family. 


Three in ten couples sit in this category. Each half of these couples feel positive about the relationship, and their attitude to long-term commitment remains stable throughout the ups and downs of their relationship, with minor dips in their satisfaction levels corresponding with time spent apart.


An unlucky 12% of couples find themselves in this group, classified largely by their tendency to fight. Though the downturns in their relationship aren’t quite as sharp or steep as those in the ‘dramatic’ camp, the downturns when they come, are usually always to do with arguments. Less likely to have positive things to say about the relationship, these couples are also more likely to encounter disapproving friends and family.


Just under one-fifth (19%) of couples can be described as social-involved, defined by the levels of interaction they share with their social groups. Though these couples have fewer fluctuations in their commitment levels than ‘dramatic’ and ‘conflict-ridden’ couples, downturns may occur when spending time with friends and family who aren’t completely supportive of the relationship.

There’s every chance that you recognise elements of your relationship in more than one category, rather than being completely defined by just the one, so don’t despair! The point of the exercise, say scientists, is that if you’re currently wondering where your relationship is headed, thinking back over how satisfied you’ve been in the past and how much this satisfaction level fluctuates, could be key to unlocking its chances of ending in rings on fingers. 

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Image: PicJumbo


Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.