Your Likelihood of a Happy Marriage May Depend on Your Genes

by Gena Kaufman


Marriage success: hard work AND good genes? (Getty Images)Marriage success: hard work AND good genes? (Getty Images) Do you ever feel like relationships are just harder for you than they are for other people? I do sometimes, but probably I'm just being a drama queen. However, thanks to this new study, I'm totally gonna blame it on my genetics from now on.

Researchers studying 150 couples over a 20-year period have found a gene that predicts relationship success. More specifically, the gene variant predicts how much a person lets emotions affect their relationships. Those with two short alleles (Alleles? I just had a traumatic flashback to science class) tend to judge their relationships by their emotional swings. Meaning, if they're experiencing a negative emotion in their life, they rate their relationship unfavorably, but if they're having positive life experiences, they rate their relationship as successful. On the other hand, people with long alleles felt steady relationship fulfillment regardless of their emotions.

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Short of having a DNA test* and feeling cheered or doomed by your results for this so-called happy marriage gene there's not a lot you can do with this information. But I do think it's a good reminder to be conscious of whether you're letting stress in other areas of your life--your job, your friendships, health, etc.--affect your feelings about your relationship. If you feel steady about your guy no matter what else is going on, that's probably a good sign for your future.

*Idea for trashy talk shows: Dramatic marriage gene DNA test reveals; couple must get married by an on-site officiant or immediately have a screaming break up depending on the results. Call me, producers. Sorry I called your show trashy.

Do you think you feel worse about your relationship when you're more stressed?

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