What People REALLY Want in a Long-Term Relationship Partner

This is an article in the September 21, 2019 edition of Time Magazine (pg. 31).  Very short but interesting.


What People Want in a Mate

What do humans really want in a long-term partner?  And how much of what we want is influenced by culture, as opposed to innate?

In a new report out of Swansea University in the U.K., researchers got 2,700 college students from five countries—three from Western cultures and two from Eastern cultures—to progressively narrow down which characteristics were most important to them in a lifetime mate.

“For men and women from both cultures, the most important trait, hands down, was kindness,” says lead author and psychology lecturer Andrew G. Thomas.  After that, there was a split by gender: across cultures, men said they value physical attractiveness while women prioritized financial stability.  But there were international nuances too.  Western partners tended to desire humor more than those from Eastern cultures, who leaned a little more toward religiosity and chastity.  Western women also valued mates who wanted to have kids.  Thomas attributes this to a higher use of contraceptives in their countries, which makes childbearing more a matter of choice.

  • Belinda Luscombe