Many of us believe that we have a “type” – a set of physical and personality characteristics that we find attractive in a person. As a relationship coach myself, I have heard this statement many times. We envision our ideal partner to have a certain body type, a specific hair colour, a certain type of humour, specific facial traits. |
The Challenge of Finding Mr or Ms Right
But finding and attracting that dream man or woman isn’t usually straightforward. First of all, we might find someone who fits the bill, but they might not be that interested in us. And if they are, who’s to say that we won’t experience a sudden crisis of confidence and feel that “he/she is way out of my league…” Usually, we end up with somebody who ticks off most of our preferred traits, but finding a 100% match is close to impossible (no big surprise there). How do we deal with the fact that a Mr or Ms Right who meets all our parameters is probably not going to come along? The following study explored how our expectations and our reality plays out.
What Happens if We Can’t Find Someone Who’s 100% Our Type?
Scientists who study partner choice have been divided between roughly two camps of thinking: one is that our partner choice is defined by our preferences, and the second one is that our preferences are defined by who we love and have entered into a relationship with. To test these two hypotheses, a team of psychologists from Goettingen University asked a group of 750 single people about their partner preferences twice – once initially, and once five months later. And, as it turned out, the third of the volunteers who had by that time entered into a relationship had found someone with characteristics that were similar to pre-defined “their type”.
However, the same research also found that the volunteers who had started a relationship were more likely to have changed their preferences than those participants who remained single. The person to whom they had grown close had managed to change their preferences to match their own individual traits. Those who had ended up with someone who didn’t meet their initial “type”, moreover, were more inclined to adjust their preferences to match their other half more closely. Some would say, they lowered their standards.
My Comments as a Relationship Coach
As a relationship coach who has guided many a person through the complexities of the relationship landscape, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all. It’s very common for us to be attracted to people who match our most valued traits, but almost all of us will end up having to adjust our expectations to a more realistic standard. For example, if humour is super important, you’ll probably end up with a funny guy. However, if you thought it would also be nice if he could cook, and it turns out he can only use a microwave, you might then decide that being able to cook isn’t actually that much of an important trait for your mate to have.
This study by Goettingen University simply confirms that we are likely to find a mate who matches the traits that are of most importance to us – then, we compromise and adjust our own list of expectations to accommodate those traits that don’t match our ideal but aren’t deal breakers. In other words: once you have entered into a relationship, you are more likely to see that special someone through rose-tinted glasses and adjust your “type” to match them.
And that is how you’ll often end up finding the partner you want, and wanting the partner you have! It’s the magic of love and attraction.
Juliette Karaman-van Schaardenburg is a director at TurnOn Britain and a qualified OneTaste coach and Orgasmic Meditation trainer. She is a relationship coach for both couples and singles, teaching them to tune into their body and intuition.
Related Articles -