The Art of Choosing a Romantic Partner (Part Two)

 Continued from Part One

Looking back at the different romantic partners we have had over time,  it's often hard to decide what it was that first drew us to this person or that .  By and large, the process of finding a new partner and forming a strong relationship tends to be gradual since it (usually) takes time to determine whether or not real chemistry exists.    It also highlights that many people may be seeking different things from their relationship i.e., is this a short-term fling or is it meant to be something more?   As date is followed by date and the relationship deepens, both partners continue"feeling out" the other person to determine if they both  feel the same way about one another and whether they both have the same relationship goals.  

This is where relationship aptitude often comes into play since our ability to form a successful relationship is often shaped by the relationships we had in the past, whether for better or for worse.  In theory, this means that people who have a history of successful relationships have positive qualities that make other people more likely to choose them as potential partners.   On the other hand, people with negative traits such as being neurotic or abrasive appear more prone to unsatisfying relationships.  But is it really possible to identify key traits that can explain why some people do better than others, relationship-wise?    Based on previous research, perhaps not.    Studies asking opposite sex friends and acquaintances to rate one another in terms of romantic desirability found little real consistency in terms of what people are looking for in a partner. Even when looking at attributes such as physical attractiveness, humour, or personality, people are far more subjective in their judgments than you might think.   

to read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.



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