Am I who I think you want me to be: perceived meta-ideals in romantic relationships

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Sucharyna, Tamara A.
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People hold images of themselves, of their ideal partner, and of the ideal relationship (Simpson, Fletcher, & Campbell, 2001). The present study examined Perceived Meta-Ideals (PMI): people’s conceptions of who they think their partners want them to be, whereas Perceived Meta-Ideal Similarity (PMIS) is how close individuals feel they are to their PMI. 143 dyads in a romantic relationship were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: primed similar/dissimilar to the PMI, and no prime control. Individuals higher in self-esteem (HSEs) reported higher PMIS than individuals lower in self-esteem (LSEs). Higher PMIS lead to an overestimation of the amount of positive qualities that the partner is looking for. HSEs were more satisfied in their relationship and reported a greater self-other overlap, and higher PMIS predicted relationship satisfaction. Finally, self-other overlap mediated the relationship between PMIS and the desire to become the PMI.
ideal partner perceptions, romantic relationships, Ideal Standards Model