Do you and your partner follow different religions? Or is one of you a spendthrift and the other a cheapskate? Or do you hold diametrically opposed political beliefs?

All of these potentially explosive issues can affect whether we see ourselves as similar or dissimilar to our partners, Slotter said.

When you first meet a potential love interest, “the more similar they are to us, the more we tend to like them,” Slotter said. This holds true for everything from hobbies to demographics to, yes, religious and political beliefs. But whether you’re a good match is more complex than whether you both like to play “Pokémon Go” or watch horror movies.

It all comes down to the story we tell ourselves about our partners.

“It’s about perception of similarity,” Slotter said. “If I think that my partner and I are very similar, that’s good. If I perceive my partner as like me, that’s a big satisfaction for me in the relationship.” So, even if your friends think you and your partner are really different, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about how you perceive your partner, Slotter said.

Usually, couples become more alike over time, but our perceptions of our partners can also change in the long run. And if you feel that your partner is more dissimilar than similar to you, then it could be time for a deep conversation, or maybe even a Dear John (or Jane) letter.

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