So in your relationship is it a matter of “opposites attract” or “birds of a feather”? The question of whether similar or dissimilar personality traits are a source of romantic attraction and marital satisfaction has been debated for years. There are those who propose a complementarity hypothesis claiming that partners may be more satisfied with those who differ with them on certain personality traits because these partners complement them or offer what they don’t have: she is a thinker; he is a doer.
Reflecting this sentiment, Tim Lahaye in his book Opposites Attract maintains that people with similar temperaments never marry because like temperaments repel — they don’t attract. Similarly, Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want, proposes that “There’s a polarity in the universe physically that is also reflected in relationships, especially when it comes to personality traits. So a high-energy person will be attracted to a low-energy person … Incompatibility makes for a dynamic, powerful, growing, exciting relationship.”
Disagreeing with this, authors Scott Lililenfeld, Steven Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry Beyerstein describe “Opposites Attract: We Are Romantically Attracted to People Who Differ From Us” as one of the 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology in their 2010 book by that title. These authors contend that most studies demonstrate that people with similar personality traits are more likely to be attracted to each other. This similarity-attraction hypothesis seems to hold up across characteristics as physical attractiveness, attachment style, political and religious attitudes, socio-economic background, and level of education, according to Pieternal Dijkstra in his 2008 article “Do People Know what they Want: A Similar or Complementary Partner?”
So do opposites or similarities cause attraction and satisfaction? Maybe both.