You Might Only Be Happy in Your Relationship Because Your Other Options Suck

Whether you’re lawfully hitched or you only decided to go Instagram official last week, it’s pretty safe to assume you think your main squeeze is the bee's knees. Isn’t it?

According to a new study that has us all taking a closer look at our relationships, it might not be that simple: How happy you are with your S.O. might have less to do with how great of a partner they really are and more to do with the other options that might be available to you.

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Research from the University of Texas at Austin found that the primary predictor for how happy people are with their partners is based on how you think your bae stacks up to everyone else's baes—not whether or not there's compatibility. Lovely.

For the study, the researchers simulated a dating pool with 119 men and 140 women who were all already in relationships. They had each participant rate the importance of 27 traits that their ideal mate should have and report the extent to which they felt those traits described their existing partners.

They used these ratings to determine a “mate value”—a.k.a. desirability—for each of the participants as determined by the pool’s average ideal prefs for a partner. They also asked the participants to rate how happy and satisfied they were with their current partner.

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They found that your relationship satisfaction is less strongly correlated with how well your partner matches up to your ideal mate traits and has a lot more to do with how well other potential mates matched up to those traits. In other words, that hot guy on Tinder doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be perfectly happy with him as your boo—he just has to be better than all the other dudes you’ve swiped lately.

Is it just us or is this a little depressing? Here’s to keeping your standards high and rocking Selena Gomez levels of single girl swag over settling for the best option in a sub-par dating pool.

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