Likes Like Likes

When we think about what motivates us and makes us act the way we do, we have to consider the draw. What’s the pull and what has it got a hold of . . . Where are we being “grasped” and in which direction is the force yanking? What is the nature of the force? What ALLOWS you to not fight it?

It all boils down to a similarity of form. Let me explain. Of course if you’ve gotten this far, you probably want to know where this is going – duhh! Anyway, when a force exhibits an attraction for another object, we can say that it is magnetized to that object. That for inherent reasons, some of which may not be known, a desire exists for one thing to another. That a force acting between two whatevers tends to draw them together and resist their separation.

But isn’t attraction usually a factor between two opposites? Complementary poles? Plus joins minus, males to females, light to dark, yin on Yang . . . The list goes on. So, how does that explain the concept of likes attracting likes – that “birds of a feather flock together”? It seems somewhat contradictory.

The look alike effect plays an important role in self-affirmation. A person typically enjoys receiving confirmation of every aspect of his or her life, ideas, attitudes and personal characteristics and it seems that people are looking for an “image” of themselves to spend their life with. One of the basics of interpersonal attraction is the rule of similarity. Similarity is attractive. It is this underlying principle that applies to both friendships and romantic relationships. There is a high correlation between the proportion of attitudes shared, and the degree of interpersonal attraction. Cheerful people like to be around other cheerful people and negative people would rather be around other negative people (Locke & Horowitz, 1990).

Similarity has effects on starting a relationship by initial attraction to know each other. It is showed that high attitude similarity resulted in a significant increase in initial attraction to the target person and high attitude dissimilarity resulted in a decrease of initial attraction (Gutkin, Gridley & Wendt, 1976; Kaplan & Olczak, 1971). Similarity also promotes relationship commitment. Study on heterosexual dating couples found that similarity in intrinsic values of the couple was linked to relationship commitment and stability (Kurdek & Schnopp-Wyatt, 1997).

But then, how does that jive with the complementary type of relationships? Perhaps the importance of similarity and complementation depends on the stage of a relationship. Similarity in humans seems to carry considerable weight in initial attraction, while complementary elements assume importance as the relationship develops over time (Vinacke, Shannon, Palazzo, Balsavage, et-al, 1988). Markey (2007) found that people would be more satisfied with their relationship if their partners differed from them, at least, in terms of dominance, as two dominant persons may experience conflicts while two submissive individuals may have frustration as neither member take the initiative.

All this I write is in the wake of my last post in an attempt at closure. Because I need to understand … Is it the similarity of form that is the basis of my drama? Being affected by an “image” of what I value, in someone else? Her being female really boosts the attraction no doubt. But essentially, and especially considering the importance of not messing up a “not all that bad” thing, I choose to focus on the beauty of my similarity with her being. To allow the excitement of simple communication with her and to see how I can learn lessons from her experiences for my own development. It’s a gift! While maybe not to be a “wife”, though I really would like for that to happen, it is probable I can still be “re-paired” even so … by basking in the “light” that flows between us from the miracle of her being in my world.

 

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