In 1785, French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb developed an experimental law which stated that like charges repel and opposites attract. Somehow over time, Coulomb’s Law, which was meant solely to assist in The Theory of Magnetism, started being applied to romantic relationships.
Fast-forward to 1978, Grease, one of the most famous American films of all time, featured a love story between Danny, the leather jacket-wearing leader of a greaser gang, and Sandy, the epitome of innocence and purity. And even though these two flew off into the sunset in a red convertible (presumably living happily ever after) scientists have concluded that the notion of opposites attracting, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, is a myth.
In 2016, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study that set out to determine the correlation between a couple’s similarities and the longevity of their relationship. Psychology researchers, Angela Bahns from Wellesley College and Chris Crandall of the University of Kansas, surveyed over 1500 random pairs of people, couples, friends, and even acquaintances to evaluate their personality traits, attitudes, prejudices, and values. The findings concluded that all pairings, regardless of the length of their relationship, had corresponding views and their accordance is what initiated a connection between them in the first place.
Does this mean it’s impossible to start a relationship with or even be attracted to someone that has opposing views? Of course not. But our desire to be liked upon initially meeting someone encourages us to find common ground with them, hence why the beginning of a relationship is usually devoid of disagreements and conflict.
You might be thinking your partner’s opinions will eventually evolve to match your own- I mean, Sandy effortlessly abandoned her poodle skirt for skin-tight pants and won Danny’s heart, right? Unfortunately, Bahns and Crandall’s research shows changing for your significant other is not that simple. Their study also concluded there were essentially no changes in beliefs over time, indicating “Change is difficult and unlikely; it’s easier to select people who are compatible with your needs and goals from the beginning.” Thus, if the similarities in a relationship aren’t authentic from the start, the chances of them ever being authentic are slim and if you want to know if you’re truly compatible with someone, it’s important to be yourself from day one.
If you’re thinking this means you have to date a clone of yourself, don’t worry. You don’t have to have EVERYTHING in common to build a lasting connection, just the stuff that counts. At Maclynn International, through years of tried and tested methodology, we’ve determined that the stuff that counts is having similar lifestyles, relationship aspirations, and core values. Although opposites attract in the world of physics and may even lead to happily ever after in our favorite films, when it comes to love and relationships, it seems that birds of a feather really do flock together. Get in touch with us today to find out more.