How To Know If Your Relationship Will Last (According To TikTok)

By Keelia Clarkson
·  5 min read
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TikTok is known for its life hacks, humor, and viral videos. So can it be trusted to tell us whether or not our relationship will last?

There’s a lot we go to TikTok for. Recipes, cute dog videos, beauty tips, couple skits, news updates, viral dances, social commentary, and minute-long slice-of-life vlogs are all pretty common to come by on the wildly popular app. But what about relationship advice?

There’s plenty of that, too. While many of the relationship advice TikToks you’ll come across on your nightly scroll don’t offer great insight, every once in a while, you could stumble upon one that actually has something interesting to say – something that makes you wonder: Is TikTok right about this? Should I be taking notes?

For example, a recent TikTok posted by user @cocomocoe caught our attention within a few seconds: “Another lesson I learned in my stress management class in college that changed my life was how to know if a relationship is going to last or not.” A way to know whether or not a relationship will last? Color us intrigued.

Having a method by which we could accurately predict if our relationship is one that will last a lifetime certainly sounds pretty handy, doesn’t it? But is it just wishful thinking to believe that such a method exists? Well, let’s dive in to what this TikTok user had to say.

How You Can Predict It, according to TikTok

“There was one study done by the Gottmans where they studied a bunch of newlyweds on their honeymoons and then they kept in touch with them for, like, 30, 40 years, to see who stayed together,” the TikToker shares.

The study she’s referencing was conducted by Dr. John Gottman. In it, he reconnected with the participating couples six years after their honeymoon. While there are many issues that can contribute to a couple’s decision to divorce, the couples that didn’t last had something in common: They didn’t “turn towards each other” nearly as often as the couples that did.

Turn towards each other? What does that even mean? What exactly are we supposed to be turning towards?

What It Means To Turn Towards Each Other

Dr. Gottman found that the couples that stayed together “turned towards” each other 86% of the time, while the couples that didn’t last only did 33% of the time. What does he mean by “turned towards”? He’s talking about how the couples responded to each other’s bids for connection.

The couples that stayed together “turned towards” each other 86% of the time, while the couples that didn’t last only did 33% of the time.

A bid for connection is what The Gottman Institute calls “any attempt from one partner to another for attention, affirmation, affection, or any other positive connection.” Essentially, whether or not your man responds when you ask a question, or if he squeezes your hand when you grab his – whether or not he matches your attempt and desire for connection. When your husband or boyfriend responds badly (“Why are you so obsessed with pointing out every horse?”) he’s turning against you; when he doesn’t respond at all, he’s turned away from you.

The example the TikToker used was if one partner pointed out an interesting bird and their significant other paid attention to what they were pointing out, and even commented on it, this would be an indicator that the relationship would last. While TikTok can’t always be trusted, in this case, it seems there’s enough evidence to back up this TikToker’s claims when we take the actual study’s findings into account. 

How To Make Bids for Connection

Now that we know both making consistent bids for connection and recognizing our significant other’s bids is deeply important for the well-being of our relationship, let’s consider how we can cultivate a dynamic of “turning towards each other” in our relationship.

Examples of “Bid” Phrases:

  • “Hey, what do you think of this dress?”

  • “This salad is incredible. Here, try some.”

  • “Look, there’s a new sushi place! We should go for our next date night.”

  • “I saw this and thought of you.”

  • “Come sit with me. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten some time to talk.”

  • “Cool, look at this!”

“Bid” behavior can also look like reaching out to grab your man’s hand, buying him a new shirt “just because,” giving him a shoulder massage without him asking, or telling him he did an amazing job making the pasta. Essentially, it's any positive behavior that is meant to create connection and allows him to respond.

How To Receive “Bids”

Turning towards each other is equally about initiating bids as it is about responding to your man’s bids well. This can look like:

  • Putting your phone down when he’s trying to have a conversation with you

  • Thanking him often and genuinely 

  • Taking interest in the TV show he’s trying to show you, even if it’s not your style

  • Responding to his random verbal processing comments through the day or on a long drive

  • Laughing at his jokes

  • Saying yes to the spontaneous adventure he wants to take you on

Relationships need consistent, positive connection in order to thrive, and a huge part of cultivating this kind of connection is taking interest in your significant other, recognizing and responding to his bids for affection, attention, and affirmation.

Closing Thoughts

So, will your relationship last? Well, it’s partially in your court. Thankfully, we can learn how to make bids for connection and how to respond to our significant other’s bids, giving our relationship a far better chance of lasting.

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