What’s normal when it comes to relationships? That’s what Chrisanna Northrup wanted to find out when she researched the book “The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples.” She ended up surveying 80-thousand people from all over the world. Then got together with psychologists to analyze the results and figure out what makes for a happy, long-term relationship. Here’s what she found:
  • Talking is key. 40-percent of the happiest couples say communication is the most satisfying part of their relationship. More so than friendship, attraction, and sex. 

  • But intimacy is important. 60-percent of extremely happy couples, who have been together 20 years or more, are intimate a few times a week. 

  • Having similar personalities also binds couples together. Nearly half of the couples surveyed said they had a lot in common. And the ones who had the most in common were more likely to consider their relationship extremely happy. Psychologists say that’s because we feel more connected to someone with whom we share a common background or interests. 

  • However, don’t worry about arguing. It’s normal. Nearly 80-percent of the happiest couples said they argued occasionally. And psychologists say that couples who never fight are avoiding conversations they need to have in order to forge a closer relationship. However – the arguing shouldn’t lead to someone sleeping on the couch. Only 1% of the happiest couples say they’ve ever slept on the couch. 

  • What else is normal for happy couples? Back rubs! 75-percent of the happiest couples give and receive back rubs. And there’s science behind that – couples who give each other back or foot massages have higher levels of the bonding and happiness chemical, oxytocin. 

So what makes for an unhappy relationship? These 4 things are common among unhappy couples:
  • They never take vacations together. 

  • They don’t kiss.

  • They don’t laugh with each other.

  • They rarely or never go out on a date. 

If you want to see how your relationship stacks up, the book is called “The Normal Bar.”