Picture:Anthony Harvey/Getty
Picture:Anthony Harvey/Getty

The secret to a happy relationship is actually something we’ve been doing forever.

Settling.

No, not settling down: settling for the best relationship available rather than holding out for Mr (or Ms) Right might be the key to that sustainable long term relationship you’ve always craved.

A new study shows that it isn’t necessarily your partner’s intelligence, health, or even sex appeal which makes a relationship last.

Instead, it’s the knowledge that you’ve gotten the best possible partner.

In less delicate terms, it depends on the value of your partner in relation to other potential partners.

Now that’s important, and Daniel Conroy-Beam, the author of the research, calls it the "mate value discrepancy":

Cues to mate replaceability—specifically mate value discrepancies—appear to have important and reliable effects on relationship satisfaction.

The availability of partners who better fulfill one's preferences decreases relationship satisfaction, especially for people mated to partners lower in mate value than themselves.

The influx of dating apps increases this mate-value discrepancy, providing countless potential "mates", meaning that the search for Mr or Ms Right becomes an all-consuming process as the dating pool becomes potentially limitless.

So there you have it: they key to a satisfying, happy relationship? Knowing that it's okay to settle for the reality rather than hold out for the dream.

Or in the immortal words of Titus Andromedon:

You gotta make like a 30-year-old single girl and settle.

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