Does a relationship hinge on how much time the couple spends together?

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Although many studies have shown associations between the amount of time spent together and relationship satisfaction, none has established the causal direction of the association. While time spent together may cause increased satisfaction, it is equally likely that greater satisfaction causes couples to spend more time together. Recent research that experimentally increased the amount of time couples spent together found no increase in relationship satisfaction. The present study looks at relationships that spend less time together—long-distance relationships (LDRs)—and examines their relationship quality compared to geographically proximal relationships (PRs). A multivariate analysis of variance compared self-reported levels of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, dyadic trust and the degree of relationship progress, between 194 individuals in premarital LDRs and 190 premarital PRs. The analysis found no significant differences. This suggests that the amount of time a couple spends together does not itself play a central role in relationship maintenance.

Source: “Time Spent Together and Relationship Quality: Long-Distance Relationships as a Test Case” from Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

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