Study: Close Relationships Don’t Always Make for Successful Relationships

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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New research suggests having a close relationship with your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you have a successful relationship.

Study author David M. Frost, with Columbia University, said what matters most is you are as close to your partner as you want to be, even if that means not having a close relationship at all.

Over the course of three years, researchers studied 732 adults and their relationships by measuring closeness, relationship satisfaction, commitment, breakup thoughts and symptoms of depression.


“What matters most is you are as close

to your partner as you want to be.”

The data showed 37 percent of respondents were happy with the level of closeness they shared with their partner, 57 percent of respondents felt too distant from their partner, and 5 percent of respondents felt too close to their partner.

Researchers then used their data to deduce what they called a “closeness discrepancy” for each individual, which related to how close they felt to their partner compared with how close they wanted to be with their partner.

After looking at these figures, researchers found a high “closeness discrepancy” correlated directly with low relationship satisfaction scores.

In other words, the bigger the difference between how close you feel to your partner and how close you want to feel to your partner, the less satisfied you’ll feel in your relationship.

Researchers discovered this was true regardless of whether individuals felt too close to their partners or not close enough.

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