Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The most desirable traits men and women seek in long-term partners

most-desirable.jpg

Whether it's on Tinder or at a bar, how do you identify a potential long-term partner? Is it their height and frame? Their earning potential? Their smile?

A group of scientists at Chapman University in California have studied nearly 28,000 heterosexuals to decipher exactly what it is that men and women look for when finding a significant other. 

Using the two largest studies of mate preferences ever conducted in America, they found that while some typical stereotypes such as "slender" bodies and earning power were true, other commonly held beliefs were challenged. 

The biggest was that men and women care equally about having a partner who is specifically attractive to them. 

Women put greater importance on resources, favouring a steady income (97%, compared to 74% of men), a successful career (61%, compared to 33% of men) and those who will or do make a lot of money (69%, compared to 47% of men).

Men on the other hand value attractiveness, and have a stronger preference for wanting a "slender" partner than women, with 80% of men indicating this as ideal in a partner. Only 50% of women asked selected "slender" as a quality they looked for. 
 

A scene from Romeo + Juliet

A scene from Romeo + Juliet

The study also looked at people with different incomes, educations, ages and levels of appearance satisfaction to see if that changed preferences in a mate.

Both men and women with higher incomes and more confidence in their appearance had stronger preferences for partners who are considered good looking. However older men and women placed less importance on looks and income traits when seeking a long-term partner.

Education level was not related to preferences for steady income or making a lot of money.

It's worth bearing in mind these results aren't quite prescriptive and researchers didn't take personality traits into consideration.

In another study titled Personality and Mate Preferences, 300 newlyweds and university students were showed two adjectives used to describe a potential partner indicated and asked to pick the word they preferred. The top five words were the same for both men and women: warm, reliable, fair, intelligent and knowledgeable. 

Table of most valued personality attributes in a potential long-term partner

Table of most valued personality attributes in a potential long-term partner

Images: Rex Features

Related

writing a CV and job application.jpg

These are the 10 worst phrases to use on your CV

ThinkstockPhotos-514755607.jpg

The common trait all happy couples share

couple.jpg

The relationship habits that kill romance and jeopardise love

ellie-and-carl.jpg

Quick and simple tricks to resolve arguments in relationships

Untitled-1.jpg

Five words and phrases that trigger conflict in a relationship

aatcy143_rt.jpg

Could or would you have an affair?

rjhero.jpg

10 proven ways to improve your relationship

instagram wedding.JPG

Inside the wedding of society couple who met on Instagram

ThinkstockPhotos-485784748.jpg

The unexpected rise of the divorce selfie

Comments

More

Everything you need to know about growing your own vegetables

(Even if you don't have loads of space)

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Calling all vino fans: are you ready for red wine ice cream?

Ice cream and red wine, together at last…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Letters penned 100 years apart show unchanging attitude to abortion

"I'm in the family way again, and I'm nearly crazy..."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Woman opens up about having her grandmother as her bridesmaid

“She’s my best friend”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Artist captures how mental illness feels with sketches of houses

“It belongs to our lives and we must not stigmatise it”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Pair cheese and wine like a pro with this incredible interactive map

Winchester Aged Gouda with a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella, anyone?

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50k, donates it to “young people”

She’s the hero we need right now, if not the one we deserve.

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Watch Emma Watson sing ‘Belle’ in new Beauty and the Beast clip

“There goes the baker with his tray, like always…”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

The worst date I’ve ever witnessed: waiters share their stories

From the toe-curlingly awkward to the jaw-on-floor shocking.

by Moya Crockett
20 Feb 2017

Men open up about “the one that got away” in thought-provoking video

But not all is as it seems…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Feb 2017