What would be the most important thing that a person is looking for in life? From face value one is likely to think money or having a good a job. While these things are important however according to the recent researches conducted in France and in the USA, both studies affirm family life or being in a couple as priority number one. And many would consider satisfaction in life, in general, in terms of satisfaction in their couple. When one is happy in their couple, they are likely to be happy also in other areas of life, such as professional life. And similarly, the stress that one experiences in an unfulfilling relationship will impact negatively their job too. That explains the seriousness of choosing a partner for you are dealing with a relationship that is determinant for your wellbeing.
Choosing a partner, not random
Indeed, though getting into a couple may appear as something that comes by chance, yet, it’s not that haphazard. There are certain criteria at play, consciously or unconsciously, which will draw one person to considering another person for a relationship partner. Such criteria may be conditioned by the duration of the relationship, long-term or short term as well as what one is looking for in that relationship. Besides, you will also remark differences between what men and women want to see in a potential partner. Cultural and personal factors influence also the choice. Without going into great details, we shall consider briefly those factors.
But what does choice of a partner have to do with you, especially if you are already in a couple which implies you have already made a choice? Indeed, the choice you made, for some, long time ago continues to impact your life and your relationship today. So, the motivation is the point of departure of your relationship that can help you to understand each other. In fact, the criteria that you put in place for choosing your partner, somehow, express your expectations in your relationship -we shall look at expectations later. Here it suffices to state that in order to move on the same wavelength with your partner it’s important to know what’s important to them. While we can consider the choice of a partner from different angles, here I intend to tackle it from the motivation point of view. Later, we may consider some other angles too.
Sexual differences in choosing a partner
Both men and women have elements that they consider important in choosing a partner. Some are cardinal and others are only luxurious. What a woman would consider as cardinal element may only be marginal to a man. So, let’s look at what men and women would be looking for in a potential partner so that finally we may see what constitutes the difference, in terms of gender.
In general, however, women will consider as important choosing a person who has social and economic resources, whereas men will be drawn by physical attractiveness. The determinant factor in such difference lies in the difference of the level of investment that a woman and a man put into in that relationship, and its consequences on their life.
Women’s choice for a partner
Women, particularly in the long-term relationship, will prefer a man who has a stable material, economic situation capable of supporting them and their children. Hence, its’s not by chance that a woman will fall for a man slightly older than her, that is, someone who’s settled or with some potential for material security. Physical attractiveness, though important, however, may not be the determining element. This is by no means to say that women are avaricious. That’s not the point! They are simply conscious of the importance of their investment in parenthood which is more than that of men. For example, after a sexual relationship that ends in pregnancy, a man may disappear, and may not even what has happened; but for a woman, she has to carry the baby for 9 months and nurse the little one closely before that baby is strong enough. Aware of such responsibility, women are normally careful about such a choice for they are aware of the possible consequences.
We may understand why, in some cultures, some women who would be ready to enter polygamous marriage, or remain as mistress to a married man, if their material security and that of their children is assured; instead of being poor in a monogamous relationship. Being security conscious, women tend to be choosy especially when it comes to long term relationship. And there the physical attractiveness of a man does not count as priority. It may be different in a case of short-term relationship.
It may happen also, especially in cases where a woman is financially secure, as is the case in the modern society or that the woman has passed reproduction age, hence, there’s no longer the risk of pregnancy with its consequent costs; in that case, they too will look for physical attractiveness in the man they consider for potential partner.
In marriage which is more of a social institution economic and social status become the criteria as is the case in most traditional societies. As for the youths today, with women financially independent and in search for romantic marriage, a person with whom they have an intimate connection becomes a primary criterion. Some will even prefer struggling, financially, with a partner they love to living in luxury with a partner with whom they have no intimate connection.
Personal and behavioural attributes
While in some cases divorced or separated persons may be extra careful in the choice of new partner in order to avoid an unhappy experience they may have had in the previous relationship, nevertheless, such persons may be vulnerable, as result, they may be less discriminating. If they hope to have children, women may be racing against time to have a man before their reproduction age elapses. Besides, they may face serious competition with younger women making it hard for them to have a man of their criteria. In some cases, economic precarity can be a contributing factor. Hence, they are likely to jump onto any offer of relationship with relaxed conditions. The risk, consequently, is to find themselves in a relationship with someone they wouldn’t normally choose for a partner. However, material possessions are not enough to win a woman for long term relationship. To that we should add personal traits. Women appreciate a generous and kind man; a selfish and violent man will not fare well on the “market” even if he’s rich.
Negative elements to avoid
Apart from the positive elements that one seeks in the potential partner there are also those which one wants to avoid. Such traits are also gendered, that is, there are differences between men and women. For example, while infidelity will be a most likely cause of divorce or separation against the unfaithful women; lack of material support will be the most likely motive of divorce or separation against a man. The point is not that women are more unfaithful than men, in fact, it’s the contrary; rather it’s has something to do with the different expectations that men and women have especially in a long-term relationship.
We shall precise this point when we deal with the second part of this topic when we look at men’s choice for a partner and the possible conflicts that may arise when you enter a relationship compromising on certain criteria.
In the mean time you can check to see: what were your criteria in choosing your conjugal partner? Does your partner fulfil them? How are they impacting your relationship today?
Bye for now! And check out for the second part in the next post!
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