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October 19, 2010

Forgetting to know you

Filed under: Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:17 am

Via @Naunihal: Oldly-wed couples, counter-intuitively enough, might tank at The Newlywed Game. As Wired reports, a new study from the University of Basel has found that “couples married for an average of 40 years know less about one another’s food, movie and kitchen-design preferences [?!] than do partners who have been married or in committed relationships for a year or two.” (Dramatically, when data for these preferences were combined, all couples agreed  that “Julie and Julia” worked better as a book. — BG)

This pattern was observed among 38 couples aged 19 to 32, versus 20 couples aged 62 to 78. The greatest knowledge gap was in predicting food preferences, which just seems weird. The researchers’ hypotheses?

— Older couples pay less attention to such specifics, figuring eh, what’s left to learn?

— Older couples, rightly or wrongly, perceive more similarity between themselves.

— Older couples come from a generation in which men and women generally knew less about each other to begin with (Cf. Don Draper and Megan, not that they’ll last long enough to qualify as “older”)

— Older couples may be more likely to use “white lies” to keep things running smoothly. (“Seriously, your beets are my FAVORITE”)

And yet! Even though they knew less about their partners in certain areas, long-term couples reported more satisfaction with their relationships. So even if we start to space on the little-ish things we like (“I could have sworn you’d prefer Ikea”), it’s the like-like we share that pulls us through.

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