Similar Personalities Don’t Always Mean Happy Ever After

At this point in the online dating game, many sites are trying anything and everything to rope in users. Some cater to those looking for infidelity, some are geared specifically toward a race or religion, and some claim they use science to find you your best potential mate. However, recent studies may be showing that matching people based on how similar their personalities and traits are might not be the best way to link people.

We’re looking at you, eHarmony.

Portia Dyrneforth, a psychology professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, decided to perform a study to see if various personality statistics of a married couple could impact their relationship. She analyzed what are commonly known the “Big Five” of personality traits: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience. Regarding these, she posed the following questions:

img @ elliottconnie

Portia Dyrneforth, a psychology professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, decided to perform a study to see if various personality statistics of a married couple could impact their relationship. She analyzed extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience, which are often regarded as “the Big Five,” or the most impacting personality traits of the human psyche.

Regarding these, she posed the following questions:

  1. Do personality traits influence a person’s own happiness in general and in the context of a relationship?
  2. Can a spouse’s personality affect the happiness of his or her partner?
  3. And does having similar personalities affect the couple’s relationship satisfaction?

The study included 11,625 married couples from Australia, Germany and Britain and although her findings showed that high levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability were important both to a single person and as important traits in their partner, she “couldn’t find any significant evidence that people with the same levels of [any] qualities were more satisfied with their relationship than those with differing traits.”

Of course there will always be perfectly happy couples with twin-like personalities. Those are, usually, the same couples who shop during the holidays in matching sweaters. So hey – to each their own. But we’d like to think that different personality traits can help a relationship be both a challenge and a growing experience – and isn’t that what relationships are meant to be?