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As it turns out, partner-focused couples were most likely to get more serious in their relationship – but dramatic couples were about twice as likely as couples in other groups to break up. A growing body of research suggests that partners who have “positive illusions” about each other are more likely to stay together.
In other words, in stable, satisfying relationships, each partner somewhat idealises the other and sees the best in them.
Meanwhile, a 2014 study, published in the, suggests that couples engaged in “demand/withdraw” patterns – ie one partner pressuring the other and receiving silence in return – are less happy in their relationships.
From her perspective, “opposites attract and with the passage of time, a lot of couples tend to resent the things that are opposite”.
Ms Sussman used a hypothetical example of a couple in which one partner is highly social and outgoing and the other is more of a homebody.
For example, you might rate your partner as more attractive, kinder and smarter than they would rate themselves.
On the other hand, if you still see your partner as meh in the looks, intelligence and kindness departments – and as totally different from your ideal mate – that’s probably not a good sign.
Yet as the authors write in an article for The Conversation: “Surprisingly, the number of back burners people reported did not predict how committed they were to their partners.” Opposites may attract initially – but over time, too much difference can start to wear on a romantic bond.