Looking For That Perfect Match Isn’t Worth It
It seems that the romantic notion of a perfect partner may be just that, a romantic notion, and it may be time to settle for what you can get, at least according to science.
Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin interviewed 119 men and 140 women who had been in relationships for an average of seven and a half years and asked them to rate 27 traits for an ‘ideal mate’ and say the extent to which they felt those traits were present in their partner and themselves.
The participants were also asked how satisfied and happy they feel in their relationships.
The results were surprising. The level of happiness in the relationship wasn’t related to the number of ideal traits that a partner had, it was more a case of their partner being better than the other options.
Those who believed their partner to be more desirable than they are proved to be happy in most cases but those whose partner was less desirable than them in their eyes were still happy if they felt their partner was better than other potential dates.
The same researchers also found that those who felt their partner was difficult to replace put more effort into maintaining their relationship (fairly unsurprisingly) but felt happier doing so.
In a press release for the research, psychology researcher Daniel Conroy-Beam said: “Satisfaction and happiness are not as clear cut as we think they are. We do not need ideal partners for relationship bliss. Instead, satisfaction appears to come from getting the best partner available to us.”
So while we’d all like to believe the perfect person is out there, maybe science is trying to tell us to lower our standards a little. After all, that perfect partner may have better offers.