We asked Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After, and he shared the following formulas for choosing a great romantic partner.
“I hope that you experience the heart pounding, butterflies in the stomach, head spinning experience of falling in love. The feeling of being so madly in love with someone, of feeling so full of happiness and hope, that you want that feeling to last forever. Many people yearn for the early stage of passionate love in many contemporary cultures, but it’s also worth noting that many cultures have seen passionate love as a mental condition or possession by unsavory spirits. As a psychologist, I think that’s there’s nothing wrong with passionate love. After all, how many experiences in life feel so good? However, the trick is figuring out how to make well-reasoned decisions about future commitments while under the dizzying spell of passionate love. Deciding whom to marry while under the influence of passionate love is like grocery shopping while you’re hungry, but there’s a science of love that can help.
The key to choosing a great partner is going into relationships with an informed and thoughtful strategy. Choosing a great mate begins with being clear about which traits are most valuable to you in a partner. When researchers observe mate choice under realistic conditions, most singles prioritize looks and money as the two most desirable characteristics, even though both traits have little influence on long-term satisfaction and stability.
In my new book, The Science of Happily Ever After, I review nine partner traits that are strong predictors of good marriages. Here, I’ll highlight three of those traits to look for in a mate. If you want to see where you or a potential partner ranks on these traits, you can run this interesting (and super quick – just seconds!) program from Five Labs that analyzes personality based on Facebook profiles.
Here are three personality traits to look for that can significantly improve the odds of finding a love that lasts:
1. Kindness: It sounds like common sense that we should choose someone kind, but only about four in ten couples demonstrate sufficient levels of kindness in their relationship. Kind partners are prone to being empathic, giving, and affectionate, which are behaviors that strengthen a relationship over time.
2. Emotional Stability: In longitudinal studies of romantic relationships, emotional stability or low neuroticism strongly predicts good relationships outcomes. Emotionally stable partners are more likely to be consistent and calm instead of escalating stress in the face of challenges that all couples will encounter.
3. Novelty Seeking: This one is difficult because high novelty seekers, people who are always seeking out new experiences and thrills, are really fun to date. They are spontaneous and intensely interested in the relationship—at least, in the beginning. However, high novelty seekers also get bored more quickly than most people and are more impulsive, which is a recipe for relationship instability. You want someone who will seek out new experiences to keep the relationship growing, but you might want to be wary of partners who score too high on this trait.”