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Closeness Isn't Always Key to Romantic Bliss
Date:2/14/2013

THURSDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Intimacy isn't bliss if it's too close for comfort.

Or not close enough to make you feel special.

That's the Valentine's Day message from researchers at Columbia University, who found that your significant other can be emotionally distant and still offer you a fulfilling relationship. The key, according to their research, is that you should be as close as you want to be.

"Our study found that people who yearn for a more intimate partnership and people who crave more distance are equally at risk for having a problematic relationship," study lead author David Frost, a psychologist and professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a news release. "If you want to experience your relationship as healthy and rewarding, it's important that you find a way to attain your idealized level of closeness with your partner."

The study involved more than 700 men and women in the United States and Canada. The participants completed online questionnaires about their relationships. Specifically, they were asked about closeness, or the degree to which they identified with their partner and shared their significant other's values, views and personality traits. They were also asked about their relationship satisfaction, commitment, break-up thoughts, and symptoms of depression.

Too much distance in the relationship was reported by 57 percent of the men and women surveyed. The researchers also found 37 percent of the participants were content with the level of intimacy in their relationship and 5 percent felt too close to their significant other.

Frost's team found that a gap between the amount of closeness in a relationship and the desired level of intimacy was associated with lower relationship quality and an rise in symptoms of depression. It didn't matter if the participants felt too close or not close enough. The negativ
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