Finding love: The tips to help you find the right partner
WHETHER we are consciously or unconsciously appraising a potential new partner, there are three characteristics that we are mostly likely to use.
Vitality and attractiveness, status and resources and warmth and trustworthiness are what researchers have found usually top the list of a person's needs.
Deakin University's Associate Professor in social psychology, Gery Karantzas, says of these three, one trumps all others. "Having someone who is warm and trustworthy," he said. "That speaks to a very important need that we have from the time that we are born until we die. It's about having someone who will provide love, comfort and security. These things matter at any age."
When we look at trustworthiness we tend to look at how well we can predict a person's behaviour. "Our need for love, comfort and security is reliant on someone being there for us, so if we can't trust them, then reliability becomes a big question in any relationship." Dr Karantzas added.
Vitality and attractiveness characteristics are far more than just how a person looks. Dr Karantzas said physical appearance does matter, but it encompasses a person's energy and even their charisma. "It's that a person demonstrates vitality and exuberance, which means they are probably healthy and active," he said.
"What it signals to a partner is, 'I have the willingness and energy to continue to enjoy life to its fullest'."
Researchers have found these characteristics are more about find a person who is able to provide for a partner, not about a glamorous lifestyle. "We're not all materialistic," Dr Karantzas said. "In fact, studies show most people don't need a large amount of money to be happy in life."
Food, shelter and other essentials are key items we are often looking for.
A word of caution
"First impressions do matter," Dr Karantzas said. "Having an open mind and an open heart is a good thing, but I add the caveat; the more we know about what we want out of a partner and a relationship, the better it is.
"The trade-off is knowing what you want, but having a degree of compromise about what it is that you want.
"We know that people who set very lofty standards, and are very unrelenting in those standards, it can set them up for a fall because no one will ever reach that ideal.
"You could have some perfectly good relationships with people around you who are perfectly good partners and will fulfil many of your needs, but if your standards are too unrealistic, then no one is going to suffice."