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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jun 10. pii: 201902937. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902937116. [Epub ahead of print]

Consistency between individuals' past and current romantic partners' own reports of their personalities.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada.


Do people have a "type" when it comes to their romantic partners' personalities? In the present research, we used data from a 9-y longitudinal study in Germany and examined the similarity between an individual's ex- and current partners using the partners' self-reported personality profiles. Based on the social accuracy model, our analyses distinguished similarity between partners that was attributable to similarity to an average person (normative similarity) and resemblance to the target participant himself/herself (self-partner similarity) to more precisely examine similarity from partner to partner (distinctive similarity). The results revealed a significant degree of distinctive partner similarity, suggesting that there may indeed be a unique type of person each individual ends up with. We also found that distinctive partner similarity was weaker for people high in extraversion or openness to experience, suggesting that these individuals may be less likely to be in a relationship with someone similar to their ex-partner (although the individual difference effects were not mirrored in an alternative analytic approach). These findings provide evidence for stability in distinctive partner personality and have important implications for predicting future partnering behaviors and actions in romantic relationships.


partner personality; partnering patterns; romantic relationships


Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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