Can a thrill-seeking Explorer find happiness with a down-to-earth Builder? A people-pleasing Negotiator with a driven Director?
Among 500 couples surveyed by Helen Fisher, the most popular couplings are between a Builder and a Director, followed by a Negotiator and a Director. As I hypothesized, partners for the most part married someone with a different set of primary social and cognitive skills. Interestingly, three of the four most prevalent marital combinations involve Builders, which makes sense. These people build families, homes, and solid careers. They're good marriage—not to mention parent—material. On the other hand, a strikingly small percentage of our couples include Explorers. I'm not surprised. The primary gene (in the dopamine system) associated with risk-taking occurs in only a small percentage of the world's population. So it's reasonable that only 9.5 percent of the 1,000 respondents in our survey—59 women and 36 men—scored in this category. (I particularly like these numbers because they undermine the smug belief that women are less adventurous than men.) Rarer still are Explorers who marry each other: only 5 couples, or 1 percent of our sample. As for other same-type unions, a mere 7 percent of marriages are between two Directors and 4 percent between two Negotiators. The one exception is the double-Builder pair: 14 percent of couples. But the world may have a special need for these marriages, a theory I'll tell you later. For now, let's explore each type of match.

Read more about the most common types.


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