Ideal mate personality concepts and compatibility in close relationships: a longitudinal analysis

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Aug;89(2):242-56. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.89.2.242.


How 2 personalities may be best combined in a couple has often been answered in terms of similarity in partner's personality characteristics. However, results have been inconsistent. The present study proposed that relationship outcomes should depend more on the similarity between individuals' ideal mate personality concepts (IMPCs) and their partner's personality as both perceived by the self and self-reported by the partner. Study 1 introduces a new Q-sort to assess IMPCs and provides evidence for the interindividual variability and the short-term consistency of IMPC. By following nonmarried couples over a 9-month period, Study 2 replicated findings from Study 1 and demonstrated that, overall, the current concept of congruence predicts relationship outcomes better than both personality similarity and the partner's individual personality traits.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Courtship*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality*
  • Q-Sort
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Desirability
  • Switzerland