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Consistency Between Individuals' Past and Current Romantic Partners' Own Reports of Their Personalities

18 June 2019

Publication Date
10 June 2019

Original Abstract
Do people have a “type” when it comes to their romantic partners’ personalities? In the present research, we used data from a 9-y longitudinal study in Germany and examined the similarity between an individual’s ex- and current partners using the partners’ self-reported personality profiles. Based on the social accuracy model, our analyses distinguished similarity between partners that was attributable to similarity to an average person (normative similarity) and resemblance to the target participant himself/herself (self-partner similarity) to more precisely examine similarity from partner to partner (distinctive similarity).

The results revealed a significant degree of distinctive partner similarity, suggesting that there may indeed be a unique type of person each individual ends up with. We also found that distinctive partner similarity was weaker for people high in extraversion or openness to experience, suggesting that these individuals may be less likely to be in a relationship with someone similar to their ex-partner (although the individual difference effects were not mirrored in an alternative analytic approach). These findings provide evidence for stability in distinctive partner personality and have important implications for predicting future partnering behaviors and actions in romantic relationships.

Park, Y. and MacDonald, G. (2019). Consistency between individuals' past and current romantic partners' own reports of their personalities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1902937116.

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partner personality, partnering patterns, romantic relationships


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