Dating agencies may be barking up the wrong tree in matching couples up by personality as a new study suggests that, in fact, it may be opposites that attract when looking for a permanent relationship reports the Daily Mail. But the researchers, who interviewed older couples, found men and women may not need to be that similar to have a successful marriage.
The study, which included couples who had been married for at least 40 years, found neither personality similarities nor differences appeared to affect how happy the couples were. The findings suggest the personality matching carried out by dating agencies and websites may make little difference in success.
Psychologist Frederick Coolidge, said the result were a surprise, running counter to what he expected. But Coolidge suspects that, in the end, the need to bond with someone may overcome any clash in personality. Coolidge said: ‘One of my very speculative suspicions is that this need for a relationship is so strong that it overcomes differences.’ However, he warned that the study sample was small, and more research is needed to find out exactly what makes a relationship last. He presented the results at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The work has not been published in a scientific journal.
Coolidge and his colleagues at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs interviewed 32 couples both to assess their personality, what they thought of their partners personalities and how happy they were in their marriages. The couples were put in separate rooms to fill in the questionnaires and not allowed to see each other’s answers. ‘We didn’t want to create any divorces,’ Coolidge said.
Both men and women reported being happy but, on average, the women were happier. Neither the length of the marriage nor personality seemed to make much difference to how happy they were.
Coolidge said the results seemed to back up previous research involving younger people. But the secret of a lasting marriage is still a mystery. Coolidge said: ‘It looks like, what leads to marital satisfaction, it’s almost as if it escapes detection, at least by standard psychological tests and personality measures.’