A landmark study shows what makes a successful relationship

(CNN)It's not who you're with, but the dynamic you have with them.

That's the big takeaway from a landmark study that explores what makes relationships successful, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Whether you're finding a potential partner by swiping right on an app, or thumbing through stacks of biodata a la Netflix's "Indian Matchmaking," there may be some wisdom for you in the researchers' findings.
    Scientists have sought to understand what makes for a good relationship for decades. But most of those studies only measured a few variables at a time, Samantha Joel, the study's lead author and an assistant professor at Western University in London Ontario, told CNN.
    Joel and her colleagues analyzed information on more than 11,000 couples, drawn from 43 data sets that tracked those partnerships for an average of a year, to determine the extent to which they could predict the quality of relationships and what measures would best predict that.
    What they found is that your own judgment of your relationship -- meaning, how satisfied you feel your partner is or how appreciative you are of your partner -- says more about the quality of your relationship than either of your personalities.
    "When it comes to a satisfying relationship, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick," Joel wrote in an email to CNN.
    In other words, don't focus so much on whether a person fits your type or whether they check all your boxes. Instead, think about how you're engaging with each other and whether your relationship leaves you feeling satisfied.

    What makes for a good relationship

    And as it turns out, some measures can more reliably predict the quality of a relationship than others.
    The researchers assessed relationship quality by looking at individual characteristics, including age, gender, income, and personality traits, and characteristics of the relationship itself, meaning affection, conflict, support, etc.
    A person's own perception of their relationship accounted for about 45% of their current satisfaction with their relationship at the onset of a study, and about 18% by the end of the study.
    Specifically, the relationship characteristics that best predicted a person's satisfaction were:
    1. Perceived partner commitment
    2. Appreciation
    3. Sexual satisfaction
    4. Perceived partner satisfaction
    5. Conflict
    A person's individual characteristics, meanwhile, explained about 21% of their satisfaction with their relationship at the start of the study, and about 12% by the end.
    The individual characteristics that best predicted a person's relationship satisfaction were:
    1. Life satisfaction
    2. Negative affect
    3. Depression
    4. Attachment avoidance
    5. Attachment anxiety
    Interestingly, their partner's personality or their partner's perception of the relationship seemed to matter relatively little, Joel said.
    And while factors such as your personality or whether or not you experience depression or anxiety could very well affect the quality of your relationship, building a relationship that you feel satisfied and secure in could outweigh those things, the study's authors wrote.