5:1, The Magic Ratio for a Happy Relationship

It seems obvious that having more positive experiences than negative ones in a romantic relationship is necessary for it to survive. But is there a way to actually quantify this? Relationship psychologist, John Gottman, believes he has found the answer. Using a mathematical model, he discovered:

“The magic ratio is 5:1. In other words, as long as there are five times as many positive interactions between partners as there are negative, the relationship is likely to be stable. It is based on this ratio that Dr. Gottman is able to predict divorce! Very unhappy couples tend to have more negative than positive interactions. The bottom line: even though some level of negativity is necessary for a stable relationship, positivity is what nourishes your love. On Wednesday, we will investigate further into Dr. John Gottman’s “Magic Ratio” that has received national attention.

This is not to say that a relationship with conflict is a bad one. Every relationship has disagreement. But learning how to turn your disagreements into positives where neither party is feeling overly criticized and understood is key.

And when you’re not disagreement, it’s important to keep the relationship healthy by finding ways to interact with each other in new and interesting ways. That can be hard with levels of anxiety so high in today’s society. But to keep any relationship strong takes more work and self-reflection than social media world would have us believe.

Anthony Tshering is a psychotherapist in the New York City area. Please contact him at (347) 927–4856 or atsheringlcsw@gmail.com if you’d like to set up a consultation appointment for therapy.