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What Do Men and Women Find Desirable in a Partner?

New research conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by eharmony found some interesting results about what men and women truly want in a partner, and information from surveys from over 1,000 singles sheds fascinating light on these crucial factors. Let’s get right to the results!

The most prominent finding may surprise you, especially in a world in which men and women spend minutes or even hours per week swiping on others: a whopping 70% of men and women find prospective partners desirable who are looking for a serious relationship rather than something casual. These results support what I find in my work as a therapist, that what people are really craving is substance and emotional connection.

The top 5 factors men and women find desirable:
1. Honesty (54%)
2. Kindness (44%)
3. Sense of humor (34%)
4. Physical attraction (34%)
5. Intelligence (29%)

Of course, we all know that appearance and attraction matter. The results are somewhat surprising, however, in that attraction didn’t even come in in the top three. Most of all, over half of men and women surveyed find desirable someone who is honest, and a similar percentage find desirable someone who is kind. This research is promising for single men and women because it shows that, deep down, people are smart and know what factors actually matter. Men and women know that attraction isn’t the glue that holds couples together 10 years down the road. In fact, it’s the personality factors and emotional connection that keep two people glued together for many years to come.

Your job matters

Right off the bat, you may think about the professions people find desirable in partners and imagine that it’s all about money. Not true, say the results of the study. In fact, the research found that professions that focus on caring are actually most desirable: nurses and doctors, teachers and professors, veterinarians, and protective services, such as fire fighters. If you work in one of these professions, make sure to include your profession as a focus in your profile. Be proud of your caring profession and focus on it in your profile to find compatible matches.

Hobbies are desirable in partners

Make that lunch or dinner date and skip the drinks. 34% of men and women find a prospective partner desirable who likes to go out to eat as a hobby. Note that going out to eat with a partner isn’t merely about eating to feel full. Going out to eat fits into an overall ethos: the two of you are relaxed, getting nourished by the food of your choice and connecting.

29% of men and women also find desirable a prospective partner who likes to cook or bake, and this is true for both men and women. Think about it: is there anything nicer than someone telling you they want to cook for you? If you love to cook, celebrate that in your profile; if you don’t know how to cook maybe take some cooking classes. By investing in this hobby, you will learn how to practice a skill and you will also be able to nurture someone else with food. Becoming more desirable because of your new skill will be an added bonus!

Other hobbies that were identified as desirable are:

Approximately one quarter of single men and women find desirable someone who likes to go out and listen to live music. If this is one of your passions, make sure to include this in your profile so that you attract people who like some of the things you like.

Why pets matter in dating

One of the study’s findings included the fact that some men and women find a prospective partner desirable who has a pet. A high percentage of singles – 35% – reported that they find someone desirable who has a dog, while 16% find someone with a cat desirable. This finding is not surprising on a psychological level. Having a pet indicates crucial information about a person: the parent of a pet is comfortable with dependence, because they understand and are not threatened by the way the animal relies and depends on them; they like to nurture in their relationships; and they value affection. If you have a pet, make sure to include that in your profile and talk about what you love about having a pet. Also, you may want to keep your eye on prospective partners who have a pet because you could share a certain sensibility.

Overall findings about what singles find desirable

The study, in summary, yielded results that should comfort singles. The vast majority of singles are looking for a serious relationship rather than something casual. In addition, having hobbies and pets are desirable traits for men and women looking for a relationship. While you date and look for the partner who is most compatible with you, also work on a side project that should be ongoing: continuing to cultivate and practice hobbies and interests. After all, shared interests are the glue that will keep two people together for years to come.

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.