Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I am not sure I would have predicted this
Although much research finds that "birds of a feather flock together," surveys of married adults suggest that opposites attract when it comes to emotional reactions toward spending. That is, "tightwads," who generally spend less than they would ideally like to spend, and "spendthrifts," who generally spend more than they would ideally like to spend, tend to marry each other, consistent with the notion that people are attracted to mates who possess characteristics dissimilar to those they deplore in themselves (Klohnen and Mendelsohn 1998). In spite of this complementary attraction, spendthrift/tightwad differences within a marriage predict conflict over finances, which in turn predict diminished marital well-being. These findings underscore the importance of studying the relationships between money, consumption, and happiness at an interpersonal level.
I think this is somewhat surprising. On the one hand, it makes sense that perhaps people would be attracted to people with opposite spending preferences. The spendthrift feels guilty about spending and is hoping their partner would constrain them (or perhaps they are looking to mooch off the other persons savings). The saver enjoys the thrill of someone who is willing to spend money freely. However, in the end, this seems like a recipe for lots of fighting as people ultimately return to type. Whatever gains may be found in the reasons I suggest have got to be dominated by the losses of fighting over money.
On the other hand I could see how opposite views on spending could really cause a problem, like if I wanted to buy BMW and my wife said buy a Kia.
I think for me, opposites attract.
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