How to choose

The Right Partner

How to choose the right partner

According to researchers who looked at speed dating, participants were making decisions on information they gained in the first 3 seconds of contact with their partner.  Maybe love at first sight does exist!

Attraction is about looks, smell, hip size, symmetry, laughter, and a dozen other unseen factors that trigger our emotions.  Because emotions are really fun, the tend to take control of the situation, but to be really fun and not let us down our emotion response needs a framework.  This is what Fein and Schnieder tried to do when the wrote ‘the rules’.  Not everyone thinks it is 100% great, but it gives a great guide to girls to sort out the men from the boys.

What do you want, long term?

But is there really a ‘right partner’?  Being attracted to someone is not the same as building a fulfilling, long term relationship with them.  We all want friends we can trust and who are there for us when we are down. A healthy, committed relationship provides this. So how can we be sure when we marry someone that we will both be able to fulfill this role?

Complimentary behaviour in relationships.

We tend to be attracted to people who like some of the same things we do, yet at the same time provide complimentary skills. So a really on time girl is attracted to an always late guy, and a quiet guy dates a talkative girl (if he can find the words to ask).  Later on, those differences either build our relationship or blow up in our face. What makes the difference?

In a word, values. You can marry someone who is very different to you (men an women are very differnent anyway), but your marriage will make or break on your shared values. How important to you are the relationships with your family? Are you willing to help someone in need? What importance do you place on honesty, self control, generosity?  These and other areas are the building blocks of good relationships. You don’t discover them in the first three seconds!

Give it a little time.

Of course, you could meet someone, fall in love, get married the same week and have a great marriage. But then again, you might not. Time is important. Someone who is prepared to take things a step at a time, to respect you and not play on your emotions, who you can observe on good days and bad days, where you can take time to talk though your expectations, these things don’t happen in a day.  The idea of living together has become popluar on the notion that it allows us to explore these factors before getting married. But there is overwhelming evidence that couples who do this divorce much more than those who don’t. One of the reasons for this is that moving in with someone doesn’t require much committment, but once in it is harder than we think to separate.

Listen to your friends.

Finally, there is one other way of really knowing who is the right person for you. Listen to you r friends and relatives. They have a pretty objective view of who you are and who the other person is. Their emotions are not wound up like yours are. Friends you can trust, or family member you can talk to, can give crucial and perceptive advice. If we just know how to listen.


Peter Magnum