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Complementarity, of Relationship Partners

Definition

Do birds of a feather flock together? Do opposites attract? These questions have been examined extensively within the domain of attraction, but less emphasis has been placed on the similarity versus complementarity in ongoing relationships. Complementarity means that partners are different in ways that enable them to fit or work together well.

Many studies have supported the idea that we are initially attracted to those who are similar to us in personality, looks, and interests. The question then becomes whether this desire for the other to be like us would result in happier, more satisfying relationships in the longer term. The answer to this question appears to be “not always.” While we do appear to prefer those with personality traits similar to ours, complementarity between partners' ...

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