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解密“夫妻相”和天长地久、如胶似漆的关系

更新时间:2018-11-7 20:30:03 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Is it better to be like your partner?
解密“夫妻相”和天长地久、如胶似漆的关系

Among many monogamous species, from cockatiels to cichlid fish, studies have revealed a clear pattern: it helps to be more similar to your mate. When mating pairs are behaviourally similar, their reproductive success tends to be higher.

研究显示,许多一夫一妻制的物种,如澳洲鹦鹉或是鲷鱼,伴侣相似度越高,益处就越多。这个规律很明显。当交配对象在行为上相似时,繁殖成功率往往更高。

In human terms, this would imply it’s better to be similar to your partner. Indeed, for a long time psychologists and others have argued that similarity is probably beneficial – after all, then we will be more likely to enjoy the same pursuits, values and outlook on life.

就人类而言,这意味着伴侣相似度高,就更好相处。事实上,很长一段时间以来,心理学家和其他人都认为相似度高也许有益。毕竟,相似的两人更可能拥有同样的追求、价值观和人生观。

But no matter how intuitive the idea seems, for decades nearly every study has failed to support it.

但无论这个想法看上去多么合情合理,几十年来几乎每一项研究都无法为这一观点提供支持。

Now, though, a team of psychologists at the University of Amsterdam think they know why. They’ve taken a far more sophisticated and nuanced look at the issue than in previous research. Their findings suggest that partner similarity does actually matter – especially for the trait of ‘agreeableness’.

然而,荷兰阿姆斯特丹大学一些心理学家认为,他们已经找到了原因。与以前的研究相比,他们的观察更复杂和细致。他们发现,伴侣之间的相似度确实很重要,尤其是在“随和”这一点上。

Their study is not alone. Other recent research looking at factors besides personality has found similarity is important in other ways, like whether you’re a morning person and if you share political attitudes. But above all – and perhaps more important than how similar you are – is how much you each come to develop a sense of a shared identity.

这项研究并非唯一。最近一些研究发现,相似度在性格之外的其他方面也很重要,比如你是否习惯早起,以及你与伴侣的政治态度是否相同。但最重要的是——这可能比你们的相似度更重要——两人在多大程度上产生了相同的身份认同感。

In terms of how much similarity affects relationships, lead researcher Manon van Scheppingen and her colleagues explain that virtually all previous research has taken an all-or-nothing approach, without factoring in the more nuanced question of whether the effect depends on the specific traits you are talking about and the relative score each partner has on those traits.

关于相似度对人际关系的影响,首席研究员谢平恩(Manonvan Scheppingen)和同事解释说,以前的研究几乎都采取了全有或全无的单一方法,而没有考虑更微妙的问题,即相似度的效应是否取决于某项人格特征,以及伴侣双方在这些特征上的相对得分。

To take one example, common sense would suggest that if both partners are highly conscientiousness, then similarity in that case might well be beneficial. But if one partner has very low conscientiousness, it may actually be better for the relationship if the other partner differs from them and has more conscientiousness – leading to a kind of beneficial compensation effect.

举个例子,常识认为,如果双方处事都很认真,那么相似度高可能是有益的。但是,如果一方责任感很低,另一方与之不同并且有更多的责任感,实际上可能会更好一些,因为这种关系中有一种有益的互补效应。

Van Scheppingen’s team analysed several years of personality, wellbeing, and relationship satisfaction data from thousands of long-term married couples in America, taking into account each partner’s relative scores on each of the five main personality traits.

谢平恩团队对美国几千对婚龄较长的夫妇在数年间的性格、幸福感和关系满意度数据进行了分析,并评估了每个伴侣在5项主要人格特质中的相对得分。

Consistent with past research, they found that by far the most important thing for overall wellbeing was the straight-forward effect of each person’s personality. Generally speaking, individuals tended to be happier if they, and/or their partner, had more agreeable, more conscientious, less neurotic personalities (which is consistent with what we know about the links between these traits and happiness).

与过去的研究成果一致,他们发现,到目前为止,对整体幸福感最重要的是每个人的个性所产生的直接影响。一般来说,如果伴侣们更随和、更负责、更少神经质 (这与我们对性格和幸福关系的认识相一致),他们往往会更快乐。

But crucially, and contrary to past research, this wasn’t the whole story.

但至关重要的是,而且不同于过往研究结果的是,这并非结论的全部。

It turned out that the comparative level of each partner’s traits also mattered in a modest but meaningful way. Most of the time a perfect match was not beneficial. For instance, having the same level of extraversion as one’s partner was not ideal for overall wellbeing (instead the optimal situation, at least for wellbeing, was for one person to be somewhat more extraverted than their partner). For people who had low levels of conscientiousness, similarity wasn’t optimal either (it was better to be with someone with a somewhat higher level of conscientiousness).

事实证明,伴侣这些特质的强弱程度也有一定的影响。在大多数情况下,完美的匹配并无好处。例如,两人同样外向对整体幸福感来说并不理想 (最理想的情况,至少对于幸福而言,是其中一人更外向)。对于责任感较低的人,相似度高的伴侣也不是最佳的选择 (最好另一方有较高的责任感)。

The standout exception, but only for women, was agreeableness: a trait associated with trusting others and having more empathy. Greater similarity to one’s partner was the ideal situation in terms of feeling more supported in the relationship. Less clear-cut, but also in favour of a similarity effect for both men and women, was a degree of similarity in openness (a trait associated with enjoying new experiences and appreciating art and culture).

明显的例外,但仅对女性而言,是随和:这是一种与信任他人和更多同理心相关的特质。双方都很随和,意味着感情上能够感受到更多支持的理想情况。另外,对男女幸福都有益的是双方的开放程度相似 (与感受新体验和欣赏艺术文化相关的一种特征),但这点尚不十分明确。

Van Scheppingen and her team speculated that some similarity in openness might be beneficial because of this trait’s links with values and politics (greater openness is associated with holding more liberal attitudes, for example). Similarity therefore would lead to “less conflict between spouses’ views and actions, which could be linked to experiencing higher levels of relational well-being”, the researchers write.

谢平恩和她的团队推测,性格是否开放,此方面的相似度可能是有益的,因为这种特质与价值观和政治有联系 (例如,更高的开放度意味着更支持自由主义的态度)。因此,研究人员写道,相似度高将导致“配偶的观点和行为之间的冲突减少,这可能与经历更高水平的幸福感有关”。

This tentative finding of a similarity effect for openness chimes with another recent paper that looked whether there is any connection between how similar partners are and how long their relationship lasts. Arguably this is a more objective measure than people’s ratings of their wellbeing and feelings of support. Beatrice Rammstedt at the Gesis Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Germany had nearly 5,000 German couples complete personality questionnaires and tracked them for five years. Her team found that the couples who showed greater similarity in the trait of openness were more likely to stay together.

关于开放度相似性所产生的影响,这一初步发现与另一篇近期的研究结果相吻合。该研究关注伴侣之间的相似度和他们伴侣关系的持久度这两者是否相关。可以说,这是一个更客观的衡量标准,而不是人们对他们的幸福感和受支持程度的主观评价。德国莱布尼茨社会科学研究所(Gesis Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)的拉姆斯泰特(Beatrice Rammstedt)对近5000对德国夫妇完成了人格问卷,并追踪调查了他们5年。她的研究小组发现,那些开放度更接近的夫妇更有可能在一起。

These weren’t the only recent studies finding a benefit in similarity. Another recent paper also found that women benefit when they have similar levels of openness to their partners (the optimal situation was when both partners reported modest levels of openness). Yet another study found partner similarity was specifically helpful to anxiously attached individuals – people who worry about being abandoned.

这也不是近期关于相似度的唯一的研究。另一项研究也发现,当女性与伴侣有相似的开放程度时,女性会受益(最佳情况是双方都适度地开放)。还有一项研究发现,伴侣的相似度高对焦虑的个体特别有益处,就是那些担心被遗弃的人。

There’s evidence that similarities beyond the main personality traits matter, too. For instance, a recent study of heterosexual couples by the University of Warsaw’s Paulina Jocz and her colleagues showed that women were happier in their relationship when they and their partner shared the same chronotype (that is, whether they were a morning or an evening person). They also found that both genders were more sexually satisfied if they had a shared preference for when in the day to have sex.

有证据表明,除了主要人格特征之外,其它方面的相似度也很重要。例如,波兰华沙大学的乔克斯(Paulina Jocz)和她的同事最近对异性恋夫妇进行研究,结果表明当女性和其伴侣有相同的作息时间表(即同是早起或是晚睡的人)时,女性在他们关系中会更加快乐。研究者还发现,如果男女对在一天之内哪个时间做爱有共识,那么他们在性方面的满意度会更高。

Another study has found that women were happier in their relationship when they shared political attitudes with their partners. And both men and women were happier if they and their partner put about the same amount of value on being free and independent-minded.

另一项研究发现,当女性与其伴侣政治观点相似时,女性在这个关系中会更加幸福。如果伴侣对自由和思想独立的价值观相同,那么男女双方都会更快乐。

These studies focus on comparing partners’ similarity as objectively as possible. But of course our subjective perceptions and feelings about our partners are probably just as important – if not more so – to how we feel about our relationships. And in this regard, psychologists have also been examining the effect of feeling a sense of shared identity with our partners, or what Courtney Walsh and Lisa Neff at the University of Texas, Austin call “identity fusion”.

这些研究的重点是尽可能客观地比较伴侣的相似度。当然,相对于我们对人际关系的感受,我们对伴侣的主观看法和感受可能同样重要,甚至更重要。在这方面,心理学家们也一直在研究伴侣有相同的身份认同的效果,或者是德克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校的沃尔什(Courtney Walsh)和内夫(Lisa Neff)所说的“身份融合”。

In their paper studying newlyweds, Walsh and Neff found that those individuals who felt their sense of identity was fused in a balanced way with their spouse’s also tended to be more confident in their relationship and to deal more constructively with any marital turbulence.

沃尔什和内夫对新婚夫妇的研究显示,各自的身份认同以平衡的方式相互融合的伴侣,通常对两人的关系更有信心,并能更具建设性地应对婚姻中的任何问题。

It would be interesting to know how perceptions of a shared identity might interact with partner similarity. After all, if you can manage to achieve a form of companionship where it feels as though you and your partner have become one, then it seems likely that questions of similarity and difference will become a side issue – because now their traits and values are yours, too.

共享的身份认同感如何与伴侣的相似度相互作用,了解这点很有意思。毕竟,如果你能设法在你和伴侣融为一体的情况下获得一种有所陪伴的感觉,那么相似性和差异性的问题似乎就变得较为次要,因为在这种情况下他们的特质和价值观也成了你的了。

In general? It is probably safe to conclude that partner similarity does matter to relationships. The specific implications depend on gender, the traits in question, and even one’s attachment style. There is no simple rule that applies to everyone, but it would be wrong to conclude that similarity is irrelevant.

总体而言,可以肯定,伴侣之间的相似度对双方的关系很重要。具体的含义取决于性别、个性,甚至与人交往的风格。没有适用于每个人的简单规则,但如果说相似度无关紧要,那肯定是错误的。

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