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Study Reveals Four Relationship Patterns That Could Determine If Couple Will Tie The Knot

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A new study found that comparing couples to four relationship pattern types will be able to tell which couple will most probably stay together.

In a study conducted by a team led by Professor Brian Ogolsky of the University of Illinois, the team identified couples by the changes in commitment to tie the knot and what brought about these changes.

"Much of the research on dating couples assumes that the manner in which relationships are formed is similar across individuals," The authors wrote in their study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, adding that what made theirs unique is their focus on the couples' aspect of the relationship instead of just on the individuals involved.

Ogolsky and his team studied over 370 unmarried couples over nine months, categorizing them into four different relationship types: Conflict-ridden, dramatic, partner-focused and socially involved.

Most of the couples involved (34 percent of the sample size) were identified as dramatic, defined by the researchers as having more up and downs in their relationship and spend less time together as well as less support from families and friends.

Partner-focused couples made up the 30 percent of the group, they are the couples who value their partner above all else, though this may change based on the amount of time the pair spent together.

Socially involved couples, composing 19 percent of the study group, are heavily influenced by how couples interact with their social support groups, including social media interactions and family.

Lastly, 12 percent of the participating couples were said to be conflict-ridden, whose relationships are riddled with the most arguments but are not found as unstable as dramatic couples.

The commitment to tie the knot among the couple was measured by graphs, where each person plotted dates that marked significant changes towards their feelings to their partners, including personal differences and arguments.

Researchers found that dramatic couples were most likely to break up after the nine month study period while partner-focused groups, who also showed the highest levels of positive interactions, had the highest chance of staying together.

Socially involved couples had the least variety of marital commitment levels among the four couple types but their decisions are largely influenced by their interactions with their social groups. Lastly, conflict-ridden groups are found to experience commitment level drops but are more likely to stay together than dramatic couples.

So what does this all mean?

Researchers suggest that it is fluctuations in commitment that can ultimately determine how long a couple can stay together in a healthy relationship.

Long term commitment, however, is significantly challenging nowadays because people tend to ignore the red flags that signal that a relationship may need more focus or help from both parties.

"The truth is that relationships don't just take care of themselves-they require commitment, self-awareness, unselfishness, and willingness to change and grow," wrote psychologist Melanie Greenberg, who was not involved with the study, for Psychology Today.

For relationships to work, couples must learn to shift their thinking from "I" focused to "We", make their relationship a priority and to handle conflicts in a healthy manner.

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