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90 Day Fiancé questions if cultural differences count as opposites attracting

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change through the use of techniques including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parenting Skills Training, and Brief Solution focused therapy. I u...

Cultural differences won't matter on 90 Day Fiancé if the chemistry is right

90 Day Fiancé on TLC is starting its new season, and the quest for love showcases people with different cultures getting together. The show is about finding love abroad and making it work in 90 days in hopes of marrying and staying together. It describes itself as a mix between “matrimony and international dating."

More: What Married at First Sight doesn't understand about relationships

The question is can it work? Can couples successfully overcome challenges of distance and cultural differences to forge a healthy union? I would think that the answer is definitely yes. But only if these couples can appreciate the differences and be able to grow together as a healthy couple and create a commitment that might need more time than just the 90 days. If they can create and maintain a solid, loving, caring relationship, and share some similarities and appreciate their unique challenges, they might make it. Differences can be beautiful in couples and should be appreciated and valued. If the couples can do this, I believe some will have successful futures together. But what does science say about differences and similarities in a couple's long term success?

Does the old that myth that opposites attract hold true, or do “birds of feather flock together?” The Association for Psychological Science describes the phenomena saying, “Dozens of studies demonstrate that people with similar personality traits are more likely to be attracted to each other than people with dissimilar personality traits.” So this tells us that, “Similarity in personality traits isn't merely a good predictor of initial attraction. It's also a good predictor of marital stability and happiness.” 

Applying these ideas to the show 90 Day Fiancé, it does appear that some of these couples are opposites attracting (due their different cultures). However I think by taking a closer look at the similarities in personality and other compatible qualities, the differences that show up stemming from their different cultures can be something positive and add to the relationships. For example, the top five personality traits are “openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.”  So if looking at the research, the more people match on personality traits the more the relationship can develop stability.

More: Your friends might be right about your bad relationship

Of course there is more to it than just matching up personalities to create a healthy relationship. Having chemistry is important as well. The similar personality styles might be a great start for any couple to begin with, but they will also need to build upon that and grow together as a couple. Even though the 90 Day fiancé couples might have come from different parts of the world, love can develop as the two might have similar personalities that attracted them to each other in the first place. The idea that love can develop for people near or far away is definitely true here. If these couples can find a genuine love and a healthy relationship style, I think a future can be found.

For now the couples will have to explore the chance that they are compatible enough to create a long lasting union and marry after the 90 days.

More: Toddlers and Tiaras is teaching kids the wrong lesson about inner beauty

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