(PRWEB) November 17, 2011
An article in the New York Times ("Love, Lies and What They Learned" (http://nyti.ms/sUYbxr) suggests that when seeking out a mate, people tend to pick someone with similar characteristics to themselves. The article was based on study of internet dating habits which Andrew T. Fiore, a scientist at Facebook, calls "true to life" data, because as more and more of life takes place online, this data is more relevant than statistics produced in a lab.
However, research from Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil suggests that - although on the surface people may look for mates with personalities similar to theirs - people fundamentally go for someone who "balances them out."
Research from Coye Chesire, an associate professor at the School of Information at Berkeley, backs this up: “What people say they want in a mate and what qualities they actually seek don’t tend to correspond,” said Cheshire.
Dr. Bonnie has spent many years studying peoples' relational "Imago" - the unconscious composite image of the positive and negative traits that they pick up from their caretakers while they were growing up. This Imago often leads people to be attracted to someone that has a composite of the positive and - unconsciously - the negative traits of their caretakers. Initially, the person will be attracted to the positive traits (or say that they want those traits, as in the case of Chesire's research), but eventually it's the negative traits - the ways in which the partners differ - that will keep the couple together.
"Once these negative traits start to emerge in a partner, they will be in opposition to the other partners 'positive' characteristics," explains Dr. Bonnie. This will cause struggle but if couples can see the areas on which they balance eachother out, they'll understand that these differences can be some of their strongest assets.
Opposites help create a great balance, make up for shortcomings, deliver characteristics that one partner lacks - and these differences can help keep passion alive. "As the relationship progresses, the areas in which one partner 'fills in the holes' for the other partner becomes the glue that holds the relationship together," says Dr. Bonnie. Sometimes, this glue can be disguised as conflict, but Dr. Bonnie advises couples that it's appropriate to see healthy conflict as something that keeps the passion alive and helps change and grow the couple both relationally and individually. This struggle can end up making each partner into the person they want to be!
Usually what people say they want in a mate lines up similarly to their own interests and personality traits, but an unconscious Imago guides people toward partners that exhibit balancing traits; hence - opposites do attract!