According to popular stereotypes, when choosing love partners, we unconsciously give preference to a certain type – all our sympathies are similar both externally and in our personality traits. Whether this is true, scientists decided to check.
As it turned out: the majority of participants in the study, former and current partners had very similar personality traits. The relations of those people who are more sociable and extroverted looked somewhat more diverse.
What determines our sympathies and willingness to enter into a romantic relationship? This question is asked not only by women and men who are actively searching, but also by scientists who are trying to uncover the secrets of love. According to preliminary results, in order to create a feeling for a partner, not only appearance and behavior, but body odor and genes are important.
Still, one question still remained open: when choosing a partner we are attracted only by a certain type or different? Sometimes it is directly evident that some people enter into relationships with very similar partners – both from a positive and a negative point of view. Former and current partners are often similar to each other, not only externally, but also in behavior and personality traits.
But what is hidden behind the myth of the same “type”? This was investigated by Yoobin Park and Geoff MacDonald of the University of Toronto (their research paper: Consistency between individual’s past and current romantic partner’s own reports of their personalities).
332 subjects of the German longitudinal study, who had at least two partners for several years, became their experimental subjects. All of them underwent a standardized personality trait test and used this data to compare their personal profiles.
Result: the former and current partners of the majority of participants showed significant similarities. This coincidence goes beyond what one would expect from a two-pair-pair rule, Park and MacDonald say. After all, when sympathy arises, a person’s similarity to his potential partner does not play an important role.
“Our data shows that people usually choose relationships with a certain type of partners,” the scientists said. That is, in search of a partner, we have our preferred type. These preferences then lead to the fact that we are unconsciously inclined to love those partners who are very similar to their predecessors – even if these relationships were bad and ended.
Why most people unconsciously prefer a particular type remains unclear. “Our data do not give any answer to this,” scientists say. It is believed that the social environment is important here. Indeed, even in the circle of our friends people with common interests and similar personality traits prevail. If this set of potential partners is relatively homogeneous, then love partners are likely to be similar.
Proof of this assumption could be another objective of the study: subjects with a more open and extrovert personality had less similarities between former and current partners. That is, from people to people, these people changed their “type”.
“This may be due to the fact that extroverts are looking for new experiences and new experiences,” the scientists say. “Or this may indicate that their social ties are heterogeneous, and therefore the totality of potential partners is also more diverse.”