It’s not just surviving the bad times that makes love work

Are you and your partner there for one another when one of you is on top of the world? Your answer may speak volumes about the health of your relationship. Researchers at the University of California (UC), Los Angeles, found that the well-being and longevity of a relationship depend on how partners respond to one another’s success—just being supportive during the rough times is not enough.

What's needed? Enthusiasm is ideal; passive approval is next. Less desirable reactions include indifference and diminishing an accomplishment’s importance.

"When you offer praise to a partner, [you're communicating] validation," notes lead author Shelly Gable, Ph.D., now an associate professor of psychology at UC, Santa Barbara. Without praise, partners may feel rejected or caught in a cruel competition.

Gable suggests taking every opportunity to respond positively, at least a little, to good news from your partner. Try putting yourself in the other person's shoes. What would you want to hear? How would you want to be treated? And give it a try, a bit at a time.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 23 Aug 2010

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014