Your genes may determine whether or not you have a happy marriage
Your relationship success (or lack of it) could all be down to your genes, according to new research.
Scientists have discovered a “happy marriage” gene that’s linked to long-term happiness in couples.
If you have this gene, or are married to someone who does, you are more likely to be satisfied with your marriage, according to the findings.
The gene in question, known as OXTR rs53576, affects the production of a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as the “love drug” or “cuddle hormone”.
It has been linked to a myriad of relationship bonding effects, including higher sexual satisfaction, greater fidelity and trust.
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Yale School of Public Health researchers studied 178 married couples whose ages ranged from 37 to 90 years old. The participants were asked to complete a survey on marital satisfaction, as well as providing a saliva sample.
Couples where at least one partner had the gene reported greater marital satisfaction and higher feelings of security within the relationship, compared with couples in which neither partner possessed the genotype.
“This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time,” said Joan Monin, the study’s lead author, in the research notes.
“In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner’s genetic predispositions.”
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The study also found those with the “happy marriage” gene were less likely to have an “anxious” attachment style.
This is where someone experiences insecurity in their relationships based on past experiences with previous partners or family members.
Do genes make or break your relationship happiness?
So are some of us doomed when it comes to having a happy marriage? Not necessarily, says psychologist Dr Becky Spelman.
“When two people come together, something happens which is almost like a third person. It can be unhealthy or healthy based on whether both of you are committed to working hard for it,” she tells Yahoo UK.
“If there’s empathy and respect in a relationship then it can be healthy and survive for a long time.”
However, it is true some people might find it a lot more difficult to maintain a healthy relationship.
“This really does come down to person’s personality traits,” explains Spelman.
“People who are best at forming healthy relationships are people who are empathise, who are able to communicate well with their partners and work on their relationship.
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“Those who don’t possess these qualities may have lots of different relationships, which will end quite soon.”
This is particularly true of individuals have the anxious attachment style addressed by the Yale researchers.
“If someone has an anxious attachment it is going to impact them in the relationships and if they go on and get married they are going to be constantly anxious in their marriage,” says Spelman.