Tag Archives: romance

Couple.

You do have a type when it comes to dating, study finds

People do have a ‘type’ when it comes to dating, a new study reports.

Couple.

Image via Pixabay.

If you’ve ever come out of a bad relationship hell-bent on dating outside your type, you’re not alone — but you’re also not in luck, according to social psychologists at the University of Toronto (U of T). They report that people tend to pick the same type of person over and over again as romantic partners, no matter what our experience with former partners was.

Typical

“It’s common that when a relationship ends, people attribute the breakup to their ex-partner’s personality and decide they need to date a different type of person,” says lead author Yoobin Park, a PhD student in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science at U of T.

“Our research suggests there’s a strong tendency to nevertheless continue to date a similar personality.”

The team used data from the German Family Panel (GFP) study launched in 2008, a multi-year study that looked at couples and families across several age intervals. The GFP is an ongoing longitudinal study on couple and family dynamics with a nationally representative sample of adolescents, young adults, and midlife individuals in Germany.

Using this data, Park and his co-author Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the Department of Psychology at U of T, compared the personalities of current and former partners of 332 participants, to see if they could spot a pattern. They could; the team reports finding a ‘significant consistency’ in the personalities of each participant’s romantic partners.

“The effect is more than just a tendency to date someone similar to yourself,” says Park.

Participants in the study, along with a number of their current and past partners, were asked to assess their own personality in regards to the ‘big 5′ personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. This process involved them rating how much they identified with statements such as “I am usually modest and reserved,” “I am interested in many different kinds of things” and “I make plans and carry them out” on a five-point scale.

Overall, the authors say, the current partners of those involved in the study described themselves in ways that were similar to how those participants’ past partners described themselves. The team worked with first-person testimonials of each participant’s partners (current or former) rather than on the participant’s description of them in order to account for various biases that other studies found.

“The degree of consistency from one relationship to the next suggests that people may indeed have a ‘type’,” says MacDonald. “And though our data do not make clear why people’s partners exhibit similar personalities, it is noteworthy that we found partner similarity above and beyond similarity to oneself.”

“Our study was particularly rigorous because we didn’t just rely on one person recalling their various partners’ personalities,” said Park. “We had reports from the partners themselves in real time.”

The authors say that the findings should help couples out there be happy and keep their relationships healthy. People learn strategies to accommodate their partners’ personalities during each relationship, they explain, and engaging with similar partners may let us carry over some of those skills to a new relationship. Park notes that this “might be an effective way to start a new relationship on a good footing.” On the other hand, some of these strategies we develop can also be negative. All in all, we need more research to determine exactly where the benefits of dating someone who’s like your ex-partner end and where the disadvantages begin.

“So, if you find you’re having the same issues in relationship after relationship,” says Park, “you may want to think about how gravitating toward the same personality traits in a partner is contributing to the consistency in your problems.”

The paper ” Consistency between individuals’ past and current romantic partners’ own reports of their personalities” has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Emotional support, rather than offering solutions, makes couples happier

When a partner tries to offer solutions, instead of emotional support, things often go south. What to do? According to a recent study, “couples may be well-advised to provide emotional support to one another instead of informational support.”

Credit: Pixabay.

When couples have trouble communicating well, what seems to always happen is that women want support, which men seem to think is equal to wanting advice. That’s bound to cause trouble in most cases, according to a new study, which found emotional support, rather than informational support, makes couples feel more connected and valued.

In his famous book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, which sold millions of copies, John Gray basically concludes that many problems couples face can be traced to a mismatch between logical and emotional mindsets. Men will often use a problem-solving, goal-orientated approach to address an argument with their partner. However, what women need in most situations is understanding, Gray argues. The whole experience can be extremely frustrating for both partners — and I think most people reading this are no strangers to such feelings.

Gray’s ideas of gender differentiation that explain the supposedly inherent tensions between the sexes and common problems couples face have gathered a lot of flak from the scientific community. A new study, however, seems to offer some evidence supporting his claims.

“I know how that feels”

A team of psychologists at the Universities of Maryland and Wyoming studied 114 male-female newlywed couples, whom they interviewed in order to see which type of support each person looked for from their partner but also which type of support they offered. For instance, the participants had to rate how much they agreed with statements like my partner “said he/she thought I handled a situation well“ or “shared facts or information with me about a situation I was facing.”

“Matching theories of social support suggest that receiving the amount and type of support one prefers from one’s romantic partner promotes more favorable affection and higher relationship satisfaction. Individuals who feel they are provided with less support from their partner than they desire (underprovision) generally experience less positive affect, more negative affect, and tend to be less satisfied in their relationships,” the authors wrote in the Journal of Family Psychology. 

Regardless of whether the participants said they’d prefer informational or emotional support, the results suggest that, across the board, more emotional support was associated with higher relationship satisfaction.

Another interesting finding was that wives told the researchers they wanted more of both types of support than they actually received. Husbands said they’d also want to receive more emotional support from their romantic partners than they get but were generally fine with the informational support they received.

At the subset level, husbands who said they preferred more informational support felt better when they received it. However, among wives who said they’d rather receive more emotional support but were met with informational support instead, they experienced depressive symptoms.

An important takeaway from these findings is that what works for you doesn’t necessarily have the same effect for your romantic partner. So if trying to offer solutions to the “problem” doesn’t get you anywhere — or makes matters worse — perhaps being more supportive on an emotional level is a better course of action. Sometimes saying something as simple as “I know how that feels” can help couples go a long way.

Laughing all the way to the bedroom: here’s why women like men who make them laugh

They say that if you want to conquer a woman’s heart, you first have to make her laugh, and the science seems to agree with that. A new study found that the more a man makes a woman laugh, the more the chances of a long term relationship grew.

Image via You Queen.

“If you meet someone who you can laugh with, it might mean your future relationship is going to be fun and filled with good cheer,” explained lead researcher Jeffrey Hall from the University of Kansas in a press release.

Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies, was initially studying the relationship between humor and intelligence, but ended up studying how women react when men make them laugh. For years, researchers have debated why women view humor as one of the most valued traits in a partner – is it because it’s a sign of intelligence, or is it something else?

 

According to Hall, humor is a worthy trait in itself.

“The idea that humor is a signal of intelligence doesn’t give humor its due credit,” Hall said. “If you meet someone who you can laugh with, it might mean your future relationship is going to be fun and filled with good cheer.”

He carried out three tests: 35 volunteers rating the Facebook profiles of 100 strangers, 300 students filling out a survey on humour and courtship, and 51 single volunteers spending 10 minutes chatting to a partner they met for the first time and reporting how attractive they were. Together, all these allowed him to paint a broad picture of the relationship between humour and romance.

The studies didn’t reveal that men tried harder than women to be funny, or that one gender made the other one laugh more, but it did show that the more a woman laughed at a man’s jokes, the more likely she was romantically interested in him.

Hall offers four explanations for why humor is so important in finding partners:

  • Humor points to having a sociable and agreeable personality. “Part of what it means to be social is the ability to joke along with people,” Hall said.
  • Men use humor to gauge if women are interested in them. “Men are trying to get women to show their cards,” Hall said. “For some men it is a conscious strategy.”
  • When men make jokes and women laugh, they may be performing a script in courtship. Men acting like jokers and women laughing along may be part of it, too. “The script is powerful and it is enduring, and it dictates everything from asking someone out to picking up the tab,” Hall said.
  • Humor is valuable for humor’s sake. “Shared laughter might be a pathway toward developing a more long-lasting relationship,” Hall said.

Journal Reference: Jeffrey A. Hall. Sexual Selection and Humor in Courtship. A Case for Warmth and Extroversion. doi: 10.1177/1474704915598918