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More of the Same? Comparing the Personalities of Ex-Spouse and New Partner after Divorce

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The similarity of the Big Five personality traits of ex-spouses and new partners was examined post-divorce. The notion that divorcees replicate their partner choice (fixed-type hypothesis) was tested against the hypotheses that they learn to select a new partner with more marriage-stabilizing personality traits than their former spouse (learning hypothesis), or are constrained by marriage market forces to repartner with someone who has less stabilizing personality traits (marriage market hypothesis). Data was derived from a Flemish study that sampled divorcees from the national register. The sample consisted of 700 triads of divorcees, their ex-spouses, and their new partners. The analysis results rejected the fixed-type hypothesis and instead supported both the learning hypothesis and the marriage market hypothesis, with higher order repartnering supporting the latter. Women also seemed to validate both hypotheses, as their partner comparison showed decreases in both stabilizing traits (conscientiousness and agreeableness) and destabilizing traits (neuroticism and extraversion). Overall, the results seem to suggest that divorcees do not repartner with someone of the same personality as their ex-spouse, and they are in some cases constrained by marriage market forces to repartner with less stabilizing personalities, while in other cases they are able to improve their partner selection.
Tijdschrift: Social Sciences
Issue: 10
Volume: 10
Jaar van publicatie:2021