Types of Couples that Last, According to Science

Believe it or not, science has managed to classify the types of couples that last. In doing so, they've also revealed which couples are more likely to fail than others. So, where does your relationship stand?
Types of Couples that Last, According to Science

Last update: 17 March, 2019

When you begin a romantic relationship, you’re likely to experience a lot of doubts. Among them, the biggest question that will come to mind will be if you’re really meant for one another. Well, science has taken on the task of researching the types of couples that last the longest. Let’s look at their findings!

The four types of couples that exist

Investigator Brian Ogolsky of the University of Illinois conducted a study of 376 couples between the ages of 25 and 29. He specifically chose couples that weren’t yet married. Rather than evaluating each individual, he conducted his study treating each couple as a unit.

During 9 months, he tracked each couple and their intentions of getting married. He observed whether or not their decision varied according to fights and their emotional states.

Ogolsky’s research concluded that there are four types of relationships: dramatic, conflict-ridden, socially-involved, and partner-focused. 

Dramatic relationships

These are couples that have spent little time together and experience all types of ups and downs, separations, reconciliations, etc. They made up 34% of all the couples that participated in the study.

Partner-focused relationships

30% of the couples that took part in Ogolsky’s study fell into the partner-focused relationship category. These couples enjoyed spending a lot of time together and sharing in activities.

Conflict-ridden relationships

Ogolsky determined that 12% of participating couples had conflict-ridden relationships. These relationships argued quite frequently, but were still more stable than dramatic relationships.

Socially-involved relationships

These couples were constantly dependent on social media, posting photos and comments, etc. For them, this type of activity took up a great part of their daily lives. 19% of the study’s participants fell into this category.
Types of Couples that Last, According to Science

The types of couples that last, according to science

However, scientists weren’t satisfied with simply classifying couples. They sought to figure out what factors caused love to turn into complicity and something long-lasting.

Here, a study published in Research Gate took on the task of pointing out the factors of healthy long-term relationships.

The study looks specifically at couples who had been married to one another for at least 40 years:


There are couples who envision a future together, share the same values and interests, and have similar points of view. While some say that opposites attract, this isn’t enough to make a relationship last. It looks like having things in common is important when it comes to building a strong relationship .


Every relationship has its share of arguments and problems. Anyone who idealizes their relationship is committing a serious mistake. And this brings us to another fundamental point in achieving a long-lasting relationship: the ability to forgive.

Conflicts will always exist, so having a healthy relationship requires looking for ways to resolve them. It also means having the ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness .


Having a good sex life doesn’t guarantee that a relationship will be successful. However, it does help in creating a bond and intimacy – both of which are important in a healthy relationship.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that sex causes us to release hormones like oxytocin, which make us feel happy. This no doubt has a positive effect on relationships.


Last, but definitely not least, communication is a basic building block of any type of interpersonal relationship. When it comes to couples, this is even more true.

It’s important that couples can express how they feel and talk about anything with one another. When life throws them obstacles, couples need to be able to look for alternatives together.

In conclusion, while studies conclude that couples that last tend to share these factors, it’s difficult to establish a one-size-fits-all pattern. Couples need to be tolerant, communicative, loving and empathetic in order to build healthy relationships. That way, everything else will flow much more easily.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.