Folklore gets it wrong on love matches
- Folklore gets it wrong on love matches* 05 August 2008* From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.Printable versionEmail to a friendRSS FeedSyndicateWHEN it comes to relationships, we are often told that opposites attract. Now, a study suggests couples stay together longer if they share some common ground.Beatrice Rammstedt of the Centre for Survey Research and Methodology in Mannheim, Germany, and Jürgen Schupp of the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin looked at the "big five" personality traits in over 6000 couples in Germany. They found people choose partners who are similar to themselves in terms of agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness, while extroversion and emotional stability were unrelated to partner choice (Personality and Individual Differences, DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.06.007).People in long-lasting marriages had particularly similar levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness, suggesting that couples with these traits in common are more likely to stand the test of time. According to Schupp, if you differ in this respect you are more likely to separate.Fear not if your partner's personality clashes with your own, though. Sanjay Srivastava, a psychologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene, offers an alternative explanation: "Perhaps the longer couples stay together, the more they grow alike."