Study Finds Link Between Similarity In Personality And Relationship Satisfaction Among Couples

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The more similar married and dating couples are in their personalities and emotions the more satisfied they are with their relationship.

Dr. Gian C. Gonzaga, Sr. Research Scientist at eHarmony Labs, and co-authors Belinda Campos and Thomas Bradbury, both of the University of California, Los Angeles, report findings from two studies in this paper. The first study analyzed a cross-sectional sample of dating couples, while the second followed newlywed married couples over the course of a year early in their marriage. Both studies measured the partners' personalities, the emotions they felt when speaking to each other, and how satisfied they were with their relationship.

Key Findings

-- Dating and married partners were more similar to each other than to other people.

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-- The more similar partners were in their personality or emotional experience the more satisfied they were with their relationship.

-- Newlywed couples who became more similar in personalities and emotions were less likely to experience a decline in relationship satisfaction early in their marriage.

Conclusion

-- Similarity in personality likely effects relationship satisfaction by shaping couples day to day emotional experience in ways that have significant impact on the relationship.

"Over the years, researchers have increasingly found that similarity between partners relates to better relationship functioning," said Dr. Gonzaga. "Our research adds to this by providing a reason why similarity promotes better relationships. Partners who are similar in broad dispositions, like personality, are more likely to feel the same way in their day-to-day lives. This may make it easier for partners to understand each other." Gonzaga added, "The most interesting finding is that newlywed couples who became more similar over time had relationships that were stronger than those who became less similar over time. These longitudinal changes provide compelling evidence for the positive effects of similarity on relationships."

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