A recent study out of the University of Iowa shows that although opposites may attract, couples with similar personalities are much more likely to stay together.

A study of almost 300 couples, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that the happiest duos scored similarly on personality traits such as openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and "disinhibition" -- a measure of irresponsible or reckless behavior.

Researchers Shanhong Luo and Eva Klohnen of the University of Iowa say sharing the most personality traits creates compatibility and reduces conflict. ...

"What is most intriguing is that when the researchers assessed marital quality and happiness, they found that personality similarity was related to marital satisfaction, but attitude similarity was not," they say in the peer-reviewed article.

"People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values and beliefs and even marry them, at least in part on the basis of this similarity, because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics, and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives." ...

"What we found is, if two people are similar -- both liberal, for example -- they probably will be attracted to each other at first sight," Luo says.

Once people are in a committed relationship, though, it's mostly personality similarities that influence marital happiness, she says.

Although it's shocking that anyone would love a liberal -- even another liberal -- this research lines up with my own experience and intuition. My girlfriend and I certainly think in different ways, but most of those differences are related to gender. I think our personalities are pretty similar; we work together well, and never seem to get tired of being around each other even in difficult circumstances. I think one of the key indicators of compatible personalities is that neither person ever wants the other to "just go away".

(HT: James Taranto.)



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