Sex & Relationships

New Study: Marital Happiness May Be Genetic

Yep, science suggests some of us are more genetically pre-disposed to less rocky relationships.

Ever wonder why some relationships resemble a scene from a battlefield when partners experience emotional ups and downs, while others seem blithely unaffected by temporary changes in people's moods?

A new study undertaken by the UC Berkeley and Northwestern University may have just answered that question.  It seems our DNA may be the key to relationship success and happiness, and researchers have identified a gene within humans that is primarily responsible for how our emotions affect our relationships, reported.

Specifically, researchers found a link between relationship fulfillment and a specific gene variant called 5-HTTLPR.  The study was conducted over 20 years using 156 middle-aged and older married couples by measuring whether the gene controls the association between negative and positive emotional behavior measured objectively during marital conflict. 

The study revealed that those who possess short gene alleles, approximately 17 per cent of people, judged their relationships by the emotional ups and downs in that if they experienced emotional negativity they would generally rate the relationship as poor.  

Whereas, for those with one longer gene variation, emotional fluctuations did not generally affect or indicate changes in relationship satisfaction - even after 10 years.

Researches said the findings did not indicate that certain people were genetically incompatible due to gene variants but rather that people can be separated into two genetic relationship groups.

“This is not destiny…These are just slight differences in how you react to your environments. But they do accumulate over the days and the months and the years and the decades,” author of the report, Professor Robert Levenson, told The Daily Californian.


Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.