Marry your friend for long-lasting happiness

Laura VanderDrift, assistant professor of psychology and one of the authors, said finding a partner who was "first and foremost a friend" was a good predictor of the long-term success of a relationship.

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That is the finding of US psychologists, who say a close friendship is linked with both a sexually and emotionally satisfying relationship, and was the first study of its kind to link friendship to sexual outcomes to this extent.

Laura VanderDrift, assistant professor of psychology and one of the authors, said finding a partner who was "first and foremost a friend" was a good predictor of the long-term success of a relationship, the UK Independent reported.

"It leads to better relationship outcomes over time, including a more satisfying relationship, a better friendship with one's partner, and even greater sexual satisfaction."

The study was carried out at Purdue University in Indiana and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

It surveyed 184 people who had been in relationships for 16 months or more and asked them what they valued most about their relationship.

Among the options were companionship, friendship, sharing new experiences together and sex.

Those couples who said friendship and companionship were the most important factors had the highest satisfaction rates for the sexual side of their relationship.

Dr VanderDrift said that couples trying to improve their relationship could solve several problems at once simply by focusing on being friends.

She advised having more shared interests and "friendship-type experiences".

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