And Your Soul Mate’s Name Is…

A new study claims that people with similar-sounding names attract one another. Here’s why—and whether it affects your own dating decisions.

By Laura Schaefer

ould you choose a romantic partner because his or her name sort of sounds like yours or you share the same initials? Scoff all you like, but a new study suggests people do just that.

When a team of researchers led by John T. Jones, Ph.D., of the United States Military Academy checked out marriage records stretching back to the 1800s, they found a significant number of couples
In one experiment, subjects were especially drawn to profiles written by people whose initials matched their own.
in which the woman’s maiden name began with the same letter as the man’s surname. To further test the research, the team conducted an experiment in which male college students were first asked to write about a flaw of theirs (we’ll explain why in a minute). Then they were asked them to evaluate women’s personal ads in which the full first name and first three letters of their last name were listed. Subjects, it turns out, were especially drawn to profiles in which the names resembled their own.

Why, exactly, do matching monikers prove so magnetic? In a nutshell, because people tend to have a positive association with their own name—and this need for familiarity increases when people are under stress or forced to dwell on their shortcomings. “Especially when they're under threat, people may gravitate toward self-relevant symbols,” Jones explained. “We think there's something about these symbols that makes people feel more secure.” Added bonus: If you two last for the long haul, you sure can save on monogramming costs.

Laura Schaefer is the author of Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Time. Her boyfriend’s last name starts with an “S,” so it must be true love.
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