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Natural Awakenings

Friends Can Add Sizzle to Your Romance: It Can Take More than Two to Tango

Jun 30, 2011 10:48AM

Need to spice up a romantic relationship that’s in the doldrums? A Wayne State University study reveals dating couples that integrate other couples into their social lives are more likely to have happier and more satisfying romantic relationships.

In the study—named When Harry and Sally Met Dick and Jane—Assistant Professor Of Psychology Richard B. Slatcher, Ph.D., worked with 60 dating couples in a controlled laboratory setting to better understand how couples form friendships and how these friendships affect each couple’s relationship. Each couple was paired with another couple and given a set of questions to discuss as a group. Half of the group, dubbed the fast friends group, was given high-disclosure questions to spark intense personal discussion; the other half received typical small-talk questions.

“We discovered that those couples that were placed in the fast friends group felt closer to the couples they interacted with and were more likely to meet up with them again during the following month,” says Slatcher. “We also learned that these same couples felt that these new friendships put a spark in their own relationships, and they felt much closer to their romantic partners.” They also reported learning new things about their partner through this novel experience.

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