Happily ever after might just come down to data.
While following our hearts to find "the one" is a very romantic notion, using data might be a better method to achieving long-term relationship satisfaction. At least, that's what Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, and Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, suggest to host and RealSimple.com editor Lori Leibovich on this week's episode of "The Labor of Love." Leibovich talks to the relationship experts about the traits we should be prioritizing in our partners, how to decipher between making a smart choice and settling, and why online dating is a double-edged sword. Below, five of their tips for finding long-lasting love.
1. (Re-)Consider Your Wishlist. We all have a list of traits we're looking for in a partner, but we often prioritize ones that won't set us up for long-term happiness. Instead of focusing on attractiveness and socioeconomic status, for example, we should be looking for agreeableness—someone who is kind with no strings attached, Tashiro says.
2. Be Open-Minded. While it's okay to have a certain "type," agree to at least meet people once for coffee. "Once you start ruling out people based on certain characteristics, you start whittling down the pool of people available pretty quickly," Tashiro says. Only choosing to date men who are six feet tall, for example, rules out 80 percent of your potential options.
3. Don't Expect Love at First Sight. Our society indulges the idea that love has to look a certain way—and that when we meet the partner of our dreams, we're going to fall head over heels immediately. But the reality for most married couples, Gottlieb says, is that it likely took them a little time before they had that "aha" moment.
4. Talk It Out. Discuss the more "un-romantic" topics—such as money, children, and work—before walking down the aisle, which will ensure you both have similar ideas about how you want your lives to go. Pre-marital counseling is one way to do this.
5. Get Opinions From Family and Friends. Many people tend to ignore red flags, choosing instead to focus on the positives in the relationship. But research has shown friends and family can spot potential problems, and are often a better judge of the relationship than you are.
For more advice from Tashiro and Gottlieb, listen to the full episode below, and don't forget to subscribe on iTunes.