Want A Strong Relationship? Science Says You Need To Do This

As with every aspect of a relationship, it's a give and take.

couple hugging Andrey Sayfutdinov / Shutterstock

A few years ago I dated a man who, no matter what good thing happened in my life, just couldn't be happy for me.

When I got the job I'd be vying for, he responded by shrugging. When I got asked to be one of only 10 writers to read our own work at an event in Brooklyn, he rolled his eyes and never showed up. I couldn't figure out what it was inside him that prevented him from being truly happy for me.


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Now I'm with someone who sometimes gets even more excited than I do when something good happens in my life and, honestly, it's the best feeling in the world. That positive response from your partner that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside is "capitalization," and according to some studies, it's essential in having a great romantic relationship.

It's those positive reactions of support and encouragement that make for greater intimacy, higher levels of relationship satisfaction, and creates an overall sense of stability that lower the chances of a breakup. It's even been found that how our partner responds during the good stuff is even more important than how our partner responds during the bad stuff that sometimes comes along in life.


However, if you're in a relationship with someone whose "attachment style," something described in the simplest form as "closeness versus independence," is different from yours, then it can make for a less than blissful relationship. It's those with "attachment avoidance," the type who don't like to rely on a partner for anything, who, if in a relationship with someone completely opposite, can throw the whole support and encouragement thing out the window.

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Basically, if you prefer to keep some emotional distance, even with your partner, you won't be as stoked as your partner, who is a bit more emotionally attached than you. For the emotionally attached, it's a less than stellar situation, especially because capitalization is so paramount in the happiness of a relationship.

So, what can you do if you're just not one of those people who's ecstatic at every great thing that happens to your partner? Well, researchers say, you need to make a "conscious effort."


It doesn't take much time and energy out of your day to give them a high-five, tell them you’re proud and give them a big wet, congratulatory kiss. 

And, if you're on the other side, the emotionally attached side who love to give and get praise, then you need to be wary of the fact that sometimes your partner just isn't going to do cartwheels over the fact that you aced an interview. It's just how it is. 

As with every aspect of a relationship, it's a give and takes, and you get out of it what you put into it. So try injecting some capitalization in there from time to time, to keep things going strong.

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Amanda Chatel is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She's a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post, and others.