What keeps married partners attracted to each other?

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Susan Sprecher


This study identifies the factors that contribute to the maintenance of attraction in marital relationships and compares these predictors with the predictors of initial attraction (as recalled for an earlier stage of the relationship). A network sample of 157 married individuals were presented with a list of 17 predictors of attraction and asked to indicate both the level and the importance (as a reason for attraction) .0 each predictor, for either initial attraction or the maintenance of attraction (randomly assigned). Most of the predictors of attraction were perceived to be somewhat too extremely characteristic of the relationship or the partner, for both the initial attraction period and the current (maintenance) period. Physical attractiveness was judged to be a significantly more important predictor of initial attraction than of the maintenance of attraction. However, other’s liking reciprocal liking), familiarity, and something special about the setting were all viewed as more important predictors of the maintenance of attraction than of initial attraction.

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