Nov 23, 2017 Relationships

Answer This Question to Find Out If Your Relationship Will Last (Says Aristotle)

by Kelsey Clark
PHOTO:

Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Relationships are some of the most rewarding, challenging, and all-encompassing experiences of our entire lives. It's nearly impossible to whittle them down to an exact science. But when it comes to spending the rest of your life with someone, it's natural to find yourself searching for a definitive answer to the question, "will my relationship last?" That's where the field of psychology, or the science of behavior, can help.

James and Suzann Pawelski, psychologists and co-authors of Happy Together, argue that your answer to the below question can give you an indication as to the longevity of your relationship: Is your partnership primarily based on the usefulness you get out of it, the pleasure you derive from it, or the goodness you see in it? As the duo explains on Psychology Today, the question is based on how the Greek philosopher Aristotle categorized friendships.

"In [Aristotle's book] Nicomachean Ethics, the classic tome on what constitutes the good life, Aristotle says we tend to love three different kinds of things: those that are useful, those that are pleasurable, and those that are good," they explain. "He says the third level of friendship, based on virtue, is the highest and ideal." The Pawelskis believe this same theory can be applied to romantic relationships.

Unlike the first two categorizations, which are self-oriented and dependent on what each person gets out of the relationship (profit or pleasure), relationships of virtue "are not focused on what we get out of them, but rather what we put into them," and therefore have a better chance of standing the test of time. "These 'Aristotelian' relationships are based on finding and feeding the goodness we see in each other … good character, unlike the usefulness or pleasure we get out of a relationship, is more likely to be more stable over time."

Head over to Psychology Today for more, and read up on how taking risks can help you overcome your fear of intimacy next.