Study Pinpoints A Key Factor In Happy And Healthy Relationships

The key to a healthy and happy relationship might be a lot simpler than the glossy magazines make out.


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockOct 17 2018, 19:49 UTC

"Earlier studies have shown that people are looking for a partner with a sense of humour and who enjoys a laugh," explained Professor René Proyer. klublu/Shutterstock

For many people, a satisfying romantic relationship involves teasing, making fun of, and ridiculing each other, according to a new study. However, this only applies to people who enjoy laughing at their own expense, something known as gelotophilia (or having a sense of humor). For people who fear being laughed at, known as gelotophobia, the complete opposite is true.

Curiously, they found that individuals who were afraid of being laughed at tended to be less content in their relationship and were less trustful of their partner. People, especially men, also frequently reported that they did not really feel satisfied with their sex life if their partner was afraid of being laughed at.


"Earlier studies have shown that people are looking for a partner with a sense of humour and who enjoys a laugh," Professor René Proyer from MLU said in a statement. However, as the study points out, it isn’t necessarily that straightforward.

The research was carried out by psychologists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Germany and recently published in the Journal of Research in Personality. They asked 154 heterosexual couples about their relationships, quizzing them on their sex life, how satisfied they were with their partner, how often they argued, and whether they like to laugh at each other, among others. They also asked them about their individual personalities.

“We found that partners are often alike with regard to their individual characteristics and also their profiles," added study co-author Kay Brauer. In fact, they also found that alike couples were usually more content in their relationship than those who were less alike.

"Women reported more often that they tended to be satisfied with their relationship and felt more attracted to their partner. They and their partners also tended to be equally satisfied with their sex life," Brauer continues.


In other words, it’s all about compatibility. If you both don’t mind being laughed at, or even enjoy it, then it could certainly benefit your relationship. Likewise, if you both despise being poked fun of, then that's fine too (provided you avoid any serious ridicule). The problem lies with one individual being a joker and the other afraid of being laughed at.

  • tag
  • psychology,

  • social,

  • happiness,

  • sexuality,

  • relationship,

  • couple,

  • heterosexual,

  • partner,

  • teasing,

  • ridicule