Survey of dating Americans finds opposites really do attract

·3-min read

If you and your partner can't agree on what to watch on your next movie night, don't sweat it.

Having opposite tastes may be a sign your relationship is thriving.

A new study shows that dissimilar tastes don't necessarily spell out the failure of a relationship - and suggests that these differences might even enhance it. 

Sixty-six percent of Americans who are dating or in a relationship reported that liking the same kinds of entertainment is actually not an important factor in their compatibility with their partner. 

In fact, 68% reported that their tastes in books, movies, TV shows and other forms of entertainment are dissimilar from their partner's. 

And 85% even said that the differences in their and their partner's taste in movies, music and video games have even introduced them to new titles they would never have considered, but ended up loving. 

Commissioned by EliteSingles and conducted by OnePoll, the survey of 2,000 Americans who are dating or in a relationship probed both the behaviors and the more global factors that respondents believe formed the basis of the compatibility with their partners.

When asked which habits they felt made them most compatible with their partner, the answers were somewhat surprising. 

While cleaning habits (32%), exercise habits (36%), eating habits (42%) and even morning / evening routines (41%) were all singled out as important factors, the habit that the largest percentage of respondents considered key to compatibility was actually their self-care routines (45%).

This marks a shift from the traditional notion of a couple as an intertwined unit to a partnership of individuals with distinct emotional needs and wants both separately and together - a mentality that Sophie Watson, a spokesperson for EliteSingles, says can only benefit couples.

"Taking care of yourself is so crucial to being a good partner that many don't think about, so it's heartening to see the survey data reflecting it," Watson said. 

"Spending time apart to relax, re-focus and develop your interests is a great practice for couples at any stage of their relationship." 

"Similar lifestyle goals and way of living in general," "financial habits," and "trust and truth" were among the other answers respondents offered when citing compatible habits. 

Everyday routines aren't the only things that can keep a couple together for the long haul, though. 

Mutual respect and understanding (54%) was the top big-picture factor cited by respondents as crucial to compatibility. 

Interests (52%) and goals for the future (49%) were of great significance for half of respondents, as well. 

But another factor that loomed large was communication - specifically, the style of how they communicated to their partners that they loved them. 

A full seven in 10 respondents claimed they and their partner communicate love the same way, which likely goes a long way towards streamlining communication. 

"Communication and common goals are, hands-down, the most important components of a great relationship," Watson added. 

So the next time you're tempted to squabble about what to watch on Netflix, it might be helpful to remember why you're really with your significant other. 

"No matter how compatible you are with your partner, compromise - at least on the small stuff - will always play a role."