Miércoles 24 de Julio de 2002, Ip nº 20

The secret of lasting love? Just answer 25 simple questions
Por Amelia Hill

The course of true love never did run smooth and now scientists know why. Love, according to a new theory, is not a matter of lightning bolts or raw sexual desire but of pornography and politics.

Its proponents, who claim to be able to predict marital happiness, say society has the recipe for love all wrong: opposites do not attract. Instead, the only way to a life of happiness together is to share a single opinion, or more specifically, 25 of them.

'Society today goes around the matter of finding love in the completely wrong way,' said Dr Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at the University of London and co-author of The Science of Love .

'We tend to dismiss people who don't fit the blueprint of perfection in our heads but our research proves that true love is doomed unless we have a number of what might appear to be mundane and obscure things in common.

'There is obviously an area of love that involves chemistry and animal attraction,' Wilson said. 'But our research found 24 areas where - unless the couples felt almost identically - their relationship would be in trouble before long.'

Wilson has spent two decades applying the science of psychometric testing to the art of love, and devised the Compatibility Quotient, or CQ, test by studying the most severe causes of marital friction on test couples and whittling down the list to 25 vital areas.

He is so confident of the value of his CQ test that he and Jon Cousins, the former creative director of an advertising company, have founded Cybersuitors.com, an internet dating agency which uses the theory to match clients.

Each applicant is asked their opinion on each one of the 25 areas, and given five different answers to choose from. Each reply is compared with those of every other member on the database, and a list is produced of those with most similarities.

'We have found that the CQ score is a virtual predictor of marital happiness,' said Cousins, who found love himself on the site shortly after it launched six weeks ago.

'Even though I helped devise the test, I would not necessarily have applied such a cut-and-dried approach to my own life until it happened almost by accident.'

After completing his own test, Cousins found he shared a CQ score of 134 with another member, 34 points higher than the 100 indicating average compatibility.

'I could not resist contacting her to see if this magic formula would work for me and, although it is still early days, it is certainly a deeper relationship than any I have been in for a long time,' he said.

Nick Auchincloss and his girlfriend, Vicky, met on the site in mid-April. 'I have usually gone for girls because of an emotional and instant attraction,' he said.

'I was sceptical about this test because it asked things I would never have thought I cared about, either in myself or my partner, but which I have now realised are pretty important to a relationship if you want it to last.'

Auchincloss contacted Vicky after their responses scored 138. 'Our relationship is already stronger than my usual experiences,' he said. 'Knowing we feel the same about these basic issues gives me an objective trust in her individually and in us together,' he said.

Wilson admitted that although it was important for couples to share a range of common interests and values - including views on the type of relationship they wanted, children, sexual fidelity and leisure activities - he was surprised by some of the areas in which concordance was vital for long-term happiness.

'Differing opinions on pornography and politics were most likely to spell disaster in any long-term relationship. Women were eight times more likely to admit their relationship was unhappy if their view on pornography differed from their partner's,' he said.

'The big issue with men was if their woman was more, or less, experienced in bed than they were: that spelt long-term unhappiness for 40 per cent of men.'

Couples who like similar food were three times likelier to stay happy than those whose taste buds clashed, while those agreeing on what to watch on TV were three and a half times more likely to experience marital bliss than those who vie for control of the remote.

Also vital for conjugal harmony was agreement over the value of chivalry - 'that's our way of discovering what they feel about feminism,' said Wilson - and a shared desire for pets.

There is, however, one area where it was better to disagree: alcohol. Cousins said: 'Partnerships where one member drank heavily and the other abstained were deeply content.

'While other differences seemed to lead inevitably to unhappiness in long-term relationships, differences in drinking habits brought couples closer together.'


  17/07/2002. The Guardian.


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