When it comes to relationships, you may wonder what makes couples work. In other words, what makes some stay together for decades, through good times and bad, and others not? You can probably tell a happy couple apart from a not-as-happy one — what does the former do differently? That’s the secret everyone would love to know. Well, when it comes to what makes couples work, the six mothers who run The Inner Circle dating app have seen a lot.
The app is a boutique dating community made up of almost 1 million members worldwide. Plus, they won “Dating App of the Year” at the 2017 UK Dating Awards, so it seems like they’re doing something right OR it seems like they know what they’re doing. As far as the mothers behind the scenes, they do everything from soothe people’s most common dating troubles to comfort them after a breakup, an Inner Circle spokesperson tells Bustle. Of course, they’ve had successful relationships of their own and are happy to give out life-experience-based advice.
“It’s great to support people in their dating life and help them get things sorted out,” one of the moms, Annabel, tells Bustle. “You feel like your work is actually contributing to another person’s happiness, and what’s better than that?! Also, it’s great to get in touch with people all over the world and get to know different dating rites and values of different cultures. For practical reasons, I love the flexibility of the job and it allows me to balance work and mum time very well.”
The app wanted people who had proven success in relationships to work for them, Inner Circle’s spokesperson says. “Most importantly, they are the same age as our users, vibrant 20s and early 30-somethings. They are forward-thinking about sex, relationships, and society, and on the same wavelength as the members — which, again, is vitally important in them being able to help them so well.”
All that said, here’s what some of the Inner Circle’s mothers say in terms of what makes couples work.
You know when you like somebody as more than a friend, but you two never seem to be single at the same time? It’s probably happened to everyone at some point, which is a reminder that timing plays a big role in romantic relationships. “I always say timing is everything,” Inner Circle’s Jacqueline tells Bustle. “You need to have two people who are looking for the same thing in life (i.e., love), at the same time.”
They Have Shared Interests
You may often hear that you and the person you’re dating should have certain things in common, from hobbies (like hiking) to shared interests (like volunteering). While you and your significant other don’t have to be twins and like *all* the same things, *some* of the same things is important. “You need to have a certain level of compatibility,” Jacqueline says. “Hobbies and interests better be well-matched to move forward.”
They Have Chemistry
When you and somebody have chemistry, you can usually feel it — you’ll be attracted to one another both emotionally and physically and just get each other, so much so that you won’t even be able to describe it. “I think you should have the right chemistry — like get each other’s humor and feel like you’ve known each other for ages while, in fact, you’ve just met,” Annabel says.
They Take Time Getting To Know Each Other
Even if you just went on a date with the perfect person, it’s best to get to know them step-by-step instead of going from a walking pace to a marathon one. “Don’t rush into things,” Annabel says. “Start by having a drink somewhere. Then, the next date could be a walk in the park or going to a nice restaurant. Find out if you have common interests and visit a museum you both like. Or, if you’re both adventurous, be creative!!”
They Are Themselves
You probably know someone who is one version of themselves with you, and a whole other version with the person they’re dating. For instance, perhaps they pretend to have certain interests, like rock-climbing, just because their new partner does. But, eventually, their true self will come out, so it’s best to just be your honest and bonafide self. “Most important is to be yourself,” Annabel says. “Also, be curious and excited to learn more about one other.”
They Get Along With Each Other’s Friends
If you think about your own relationship or past ones you have had, how did you get along with your significant other’s friends? How did they get along with yours? The answers could be very telling when it comes to what makes a couple work. “I always think that your friends say a lot about who you really are,” Annabel says. Inner Circle’s Sarah agrees about friends being an important factor in a couple’s life. “When you start to like each other, meet up with each other’s friends,” she tells Bustle. “This way, you can see how the person is with their friends.”
They Respect Each Other
Respecting each other is a key foundation to a relationship. “Respect each other,” Annabel says. Jacqueline agrees. “Have appreciation for one another ‘as is,’” she says. “Highlight the good traits in your partner instead of the bad; no one is perfect.”
They Surprise Each Other
In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, everything seems perfect… but then reality sets in. However, there is a way to prolong the honeymoon phase as long as you keep up its momentum. “Try to keep things exciting,” Annabel says. “Even though it’s very easy to fall into a regular pattern after being together awhile, surprise each other and really take time for quality time.”
Do you and your partner have fun together, no matter what? That’s another trait that makes couples work. “Eventually, the steam and excitement of a new relationship will wear off and what you will (hopefully) be left with is to be able to have fun together and laugh,” Jacqueline says. “If you can make me laugh, you can make me do anything. I personally think this is a very important ingredient that can give a relationship the stamina for longevity. As they say, ‘Couples who can play together, stay together.’”
They Have Honest And Constant Communication
You probably hear people say it all the time: “Communication is key.” You also probably know that they are right. Jacqueline agrees. “Honest and constant communication is, of course, the golden key to any healthy relationship, and it is not always as easy as it sounds,” she says. “People and emotions are complicated, and mind-reading is hard. If it your relationship is going to last, you need to talk and be honest.”
They Have Common Goals
Although opposites can attract, when it comes to certain things in your relationship, it’s good to have common goals. Working towards the same goal is key, too, Jacqueline says. “In addition, wanting the same things for the future is equally important,” she says.
I don’t know about you, but I think getting tips like the above is key when it comes seeing what makes a couple work. After all, the more advice, the better, right?