New Research: Successful Relationships Share These 5 Common Traits💖

young couples working in vegetable garden and are in relationship



Contrary to the age-old belief, it appears that opposites may not actually attract. Researchers from the University of Colorado have conducted an extensive analysis, examining more than 130 traits across millions of couples spanning a century. This research may prompt you to rethink your views on relationships by challenging the idea that differences are what make romance exciting.



Published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Human Behaviour in August 2023, this analysis provides captivating insights into the dynamics of relationships. Remarkably, partners exhibited striking similarities in a substantial 82% to 89% of traits, ranging from political inclinations to lifestyle choices. Conversely, a mere 3% of traits displayed any inclination for opposites to attract.

Beyond its implications for our understanding of love and relationships, these findings have profound repercussions in the field of genetic research. Dr. Matthew Keller, a distinguished PhD and the senior author of the study, also serves as the director and professor at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Keller underscores that prior genetic models assumed human mate selection to be random, but this study suggests a deliberate preference for certain partner characteristics.


Portrait of multiracial three generations family praying together when dining outdoors in front or back yard.

1. Political and religious beliefs

Tanya Horwitz, the primary author of the study and a doctoral candidate at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, along with the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at CU Boulder, has asserted in a press release, “Similarity in political and religious beliefs significantly predicts the longevity of a relationship.” In contemporary times, it’s not surprising that these shared values play a crucial role in relationship durability.


smiling student with hand raised in lecture hall
smiling student with hand raised in lecture hall

2. Education levels and IQ scores

Here’s a thought-provoking idea: Your level of education can influence your desire for intellectual engagement. In the United States, there is a growing trend of people seeking partners with similar educational backgrounds.

While this may appear obvious, this trend has the potential to exacerbate socioeconomic disparities over time.


boy going size kid measure Child measuring his height on wall.
boy going size kid measure Child measuring his height on wall.

3. Height


Does Size Truly Count? Height Could Hold the Answer. According to Horwitz, if shorter people tend to partner with similar heights and taller individuals do the same, future generations might witness increased height disparities. But it doesn’t end there; this trend could extend to other hereditary traits, including medical tendencies and personality characteristics.


two kids with their father in kitchen
two kids with their father in kitchen

4. Attitudes toward substances


The way you connect with substances such as alcohol and tobacco can greatly impact your romantic decisions. The research identified a distinct trend: individuals who smoke heavily, avid drinkers, and those who abstain completely frequently form relationships with individuals who have similar habits.


doctor nursing a baby
doctor nursing a baby

5. Birth year


While it may appear obvious, your birth year plays a significant role in determining compatibility. Often, couples gravitate towards individuals with similar emotional maturity levels, possibly due to shared generational experiences and values. (Who doesn’t enjoy having a similar taste in music from their era?!)


The bottom line


As you contemplate your personal relationships and choices, Horwitz presents a compelling notion: “These discoveries imply that even when we believe we have control over our relationships, there may be concealed mechanisms at play of which we are not entirely conscious.” Relationships form a intricate tapestry of shared backgrounds, mutual attractions, and occasionally, couples becoming more similar over time.

This research also underscores that the degree of similarity in traits can vary by geographical regions and may change across generations. While the researchers advise against exaggerating these findings or using them for biased purposes, they aspire to encourage a broader range of research across diverse disciplines. As Horwitz articulates, “We hope that individuals can utilize this data for their own analyses to gain deeper insights into how and why people find themselves in the relationships they do.”


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