4 Common Misconceptions About Relationships and The Science Behind Them

Common Misconceptions About Relationships

The authors of the aforementioned meta-analysis note that there may be inherent differences between cohabitators and non-cohabitators, such as religiosity, views toward marriage and divorce, etc., which may affect the quality and stability of the relationship (i.e., cohabitating in and of itself may not be what is leading to the witnessed outcomes) (Jose et al., 2010).

Therefore, the relationship between cohabitation and marriage may not solely be a result of living together, and instead may be related to other individual differences and each partner’s level of commitment.

3. Opposites Attract.

This is one of the most persistent misconceptions about relationships. Opposites do not attract. Rather, it’s birds of a feather that flock together. Research has shown strong evidence for assortative mating, which involves the nonrandom coupling of individuals who resemble one another on one or more characteristics (Buss, 1984; Watson, Beer, & McDade-Montez, 2013).

Based on the likes-attract hypothesis, individuals relate self-perception on one trait to the selectivity of mate preference in the same trait (Buston & Emlen, 2003). Therefore, when selecting a potential partner, we would show a preference for individuals with traits similar to our own. The similarity is even a major factor when people decide whether or not to pursue an online relationship (Barnes, 2003, as cited in Anderson & Emmers-Sommer, 2006).

Other research by Markey and Kurtz (2006) shows that successful couples are those in which the partners complement one another. In this case, the partners aren’t opposite one another, but instead, add qualities that enhance and fit in with the other partner’s existing life.

4. The Divorce Rate Is 50 Percent.

Most of us have heard at one point or another that half of all marriages end in divorce. The 50-per cent divorce statistic is overinflated by those who marry and divorce multiple times. Determining the exact divorce rate is tricky because not all states record and keep the data. In fact, many have concluded that divorce may either be stable or on the decline over the past three decades (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014).

Also, when people report the divorce statistic, they are usually calculating it as the result of dividing those who married by those who divorced. This does not account for the fact that those who are divorcing are not necessarily the same people who married. Using that method, we are actually comparing people from different generational cohorts. Many researchers say that the number has never actually exceeded 41 percent (Hurley, 2005).

Read The Man You’ll Marry (And Divorce), According To The Zodiac Signs

The divorce rate varies by cohort and is changing as a result of people waiting longer to get married, and focusing on their education and vocation before settling down.

Please keep these four commonly held misconceptions about relationships, and the research provided to debunk them, in mind. Knowing this important information will help you when considering your own romantic partnerships.

Anderson, T. L., & Emmers-Sommer, T. M. (2006). Predictors of relationship satisfaction in online romantic relationships. Communication Studies, 57(2), 153-172.
Buss, D. M. (1984). Marital assortment for personality dispositions: Assessment with three different data sources. Behavior Genetics, 14, 111–123.
Buston, P. M., & Emlen, S. T. (2003). Cognitive processes underlying human mate choice: The relationship between self-perception and mate preference in Western society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(15), 8805-8810.

Written by: Marisa T. Cohen
For more information about Dr. Marisa T. Cohen and her work, please visit her website: www.marisatcohen.com
Originally appeared on:Psychology Today 
Republished with permission
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4 Common Misconceptions About Relationships and The Science Behind Them
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