What does it take to be happy?
Dating website eharmony, which focuses on finding people long-term relationships rather than right-swipes and hook-ups, asked more than 2,300 people who have a partner of the same or opposite sex whether they were content in their relationship. The survey, conducted in conjunction with Harris Interactive, looked at what the happiest respondents had in common.
They had a healthy sex life and an equal balance of economic power, but they were also most likely to be younger (between the ages of 25 and 44), have two kids, each earn at least $75,000 a year and have a B.A. than their unhappier counterparts. This year, couples also noted that improved social awareness and similar political convictions correlated with happiness.
“Education and political similarities are more important now than they were five years ago,” Grant Langston, chief executive officer of eharmony told MarketWatch. “Many of the happiest couples vote and are also very aware of social justice issues.” In fact, some people are adamant about not dating people from the opposite of the political spectrum, he added.
But men and women seem to differ in what makes their partner happy. “Men think that women want gifts, but women want words of affirmation,” Langston said. Aside from the obvious attractions of a healthy physique, people said they found happy, stable and intelligent people desirable. In fact, he said these qualities were deemed as important as a regular sex life.
Here’s what else eharmony found
- Seventy percent report sharing a life together is more important than marriage, although 55 percent said marriage would make their relationship happier.
- Forty-four percent of couples said they’re dealing with mental-health issues in their relationship, which may include depression, anxiety, ADHD or bipolar disorder.
- Only 1 in 5 women reported feeling more empowered as a result of #MeToo and 32 percent of men said they feel less confident to make the first move with a woman.
- Those who sought a long-term relationship from the outset were 11 percent happier than those who were seeking something casual when they first met.
- Women place more value on emotional and financial stability, while men tend to find happiness, physical attraction and health as the most desirable traits.
- Forty-two percent of people consider their relationship equal in terms of power and economics, whereas only 26 percent unhappy couples said the same thing.
- Over 60 percent of LGBT couples say their relationship is more focused on quality time than sex, although they tend to have more sex than their heterosexual counterparts.
Men and women often look for different things
An earlier 2015 study published in the peer-reviewed academic journal “Personality and Individual Differences” said women felt it was more important that their partner made at least as much money as they did (46 percent versus 24 percent of men) and had a successful career (61percent versus 33 percent of men), while men favored a slender body (80 percent versus 58 percent of women).
Men were more focused on looks whereas women said finance was more important in choosing a partner. Men with higher incomes showed stronger preferences for women with slender bodies, while women with higher incomes preferred men who had a steady income, the survey of 28,000 heterosexual men and women aged between 18 and 75.
Debt, however, is a no-no when it comes to choosing a partner. More than 77 percent of people consider credit-card debt an unattractive trait in a mate, according to a recent report released by personal-finance site Finder.com. On average, people say $11,525 in credit-card debt is enough of a red flag to swipe left or walk away from a potential partner.
Payday loans, which can have rates as high as 400 percent, are the second most unacceptable forms of debt for daters. As such, it only takes a payday loan of $1,830 to turn off a potential partner. Given that Americans carry $1.5 trillion in student debt, student loans are also off-putting to prospective dates and, on average, anything above $51,000 could be a deal-breaker.