Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Laws of Personal Attraction: Opposites Don't

Slate tries to cover up an interesting sociological observation with a bunch of celebrity gossip: opposites don't attract. You, being a normal, narcissistic human, want to be with someone very much like you:
It's an established tenet of social psychology that similarities rather than differences—whether in attitude, personality, age, income, race, or religion—produce a lasting relationship. "Opposites tend to attract in the short term, but not in the long-term," says Catherine Sanderson, a psychology professor at Amherst College who teaches a class on close relationships. "Over the long haul, one of the bigger predictors of success in relationships and marriages is similarity." (A marriage between people with similar qualities is known as homogamy.) There's less to fight about, for one thing. People from different religious backgrounds might want to raise children in different traditions, or those from disparate economic backgrounds might clash on the importance of education. Agreement, meanwhile—whether on movies, restaurants, religion, or favorite romantic comedies—produces positive emotions and more fruitful relationships. (It's also true that similar people are more likely to meet each other in the first place: If you like sports, you're more likely to be in situations where you'll run into other sports lovers.)
The myth "opposites attract" might make for good romantic comedies, but this myth rarely plays out in real life - in real life, it's more likely to lead to divorce. So, get out there and love yourself - or better yet, find the opposite-sex version of yourself, and have that person love you ;)

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