Research Reveals Opposites Don’t Attract

Two people looking at a sunset.

According to a bunch of studies rounded up by the Atlantic the old dating adage that opposites attract isn’t actually true. A study of 291 couples found that there were more similarities than differences in almost all areas of their lives, including religion, politics, and values.

Scientists have a word for this — “positive assortative mating” — and it’s found in animals, too.

Humans are no different; we tend to pair up with partners on the same level of attractiveness, because we’re attracted to ourselves.  One study showed that we go after partners with similar facial features. So, if you have a prominent nose, chances are that you’ll go for the guy with a prominent nose. We like the features that we find on ourselves.

But personality wins out over prettiness, right? Wrong. When it comes the personality factor, like also attracts like. If you’re a happy-go-lucky person, you’ll tend to seek the same in a potential partner. On the flip side, if you’re a bit of Debbie Downer, you’ll be more into someone who shares your view of the world.

And, yes, money does matter when it comes to finding your significant other. Those on similar pay grades tend to match up. However, your level of schooling actually matters more because it implies cultural commonalities. For instance, Ivy Leaguers will likely share a similar work ethic, income level as well as values, opposed to those who didn’t attend college.

Sorry kids, opposites don’t attract. So, how does this help when it comes to finding your match online? First of all, don’t take  rejection personally. These studies reinforce the idea that square pegs don’t actually fit into round holes. If you’re struggling to match with a woman who’s inherently different than you, there’s a reason for that. Also, if you were thinking of pulling a George Constanza and doing the complete opposite of what you’ve ever done in dating — meaning going for the guy who doesn’t have anything in common with you — you might want to hold off.  Wait for the guy who shares your pointy chin, or pronounced nose, instead.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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