What's Your Love Type?By Helen Fisher, PhDO, The Oprah Magazine|From the June 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Her bags are always packed. His bliss is Barcalounging with the TiVo and family puggle.Do they have a future together? Helen Fisher, PhD, says you can predict a couple'schances of happiness based on which of four personality types they fit into. And she's gota 500-couple, O-sponsored survey to prove it.
"They went quietly down into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed..." So wroteDickens in
. We all want a happy partnership, but what is that? And howcan we differentiate between an intoxicating attraction that will end in a flameout andthe kind of chemistry that makes for long-term compatibility? Using my latest research(the subject of my next book), I designed a survey for
magazine to explore why—andhow—certain couples click so well, and why others are plagued by tension and misery.I began with a theory. Since antiquity, poets, philosophers, and physicians haveclassified people into four styles of temperament. For Plato, they were the Artisan,Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. I have come to call them the Explorer, Builder,Negotiator, and Director. Each basic type, I suspect, is associated with a distinct clusterof genes—along with the expression of certain brain chemicals and a unique collectionof personality traits. When people pair up, I propose, they tend to fall for a typedifferent from their own, pulled by an unconscious biological appetite to create moregenetic variety in their young and to raise their children with a wider array of parenting skills. Furthermore, each kind of pair will have its own joys and challenges,so a Builder married to a Director might face one set of highs and lows; a Negotiator-Explorer couple, another.To see how these ideas play out in the real world, we e-mailed thousands of married
readers and asked each spouse to complete our online survey independently (oncepartners hit "submit," they couldn't read each other's answers). Part of the survey