Do individuals seek partners with similar, as opposed to complementary personality characteristics?

From: Evolutionary Psychology

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  • 476 women and 284 men from a dating site for college-educated singles looking for a long-term mate. Average age was 41.2 years


  • Personality characteristics were assessed via a questionnaire. This was followed up with a questionnaire about the desired personality characteristics of a potential mate.


  • Both men and women were found to desire a partner who is similar to themselves with regards to 5 key personality factors (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness).
  • However, when explicitly asked what they preferred - a similar or a complementary mate - the majority of the participants (85.7%) reported preferring a complementary partner over a similar one.
  • The study also showed that when controlling for own personality ratings, women desired a more conscientious, extraverted and emotionally stable (less neurotic) partner than men.


  • Although when asked individuals desired a partner who resembles them in terms of personality, when asked about their preferences in general, most individuals indicated that they desired a complementary partner