That’s what we all think. 

We think we know the qualities we want in a partner.

But we don’t.

In fact, the same qualities we tell friends often don’t show up in those we choose to date or even marry.

There have been numerous studies on this.  The most recent ones used speed dating.

Researchers had subjects rate the important qualities before the speed dating events then evaluated those same attributes in those they chose to date. 

The results were clear: the important qualities identified beforehand weren’t rated any higher in the people they chose than any other attribute.

So what gives?

Most people explain their choices based on their belief systems, which are formed over the course of their lives. 

For example, I may say I’m looking for someone who is highly intelligent because that was stressed by my family growing up.  But when it comes right down to it, intelligence might not factor into my decision at all.

My attraction to someone boils down to more instinctual, gut-level feelings than a thought-through “qualifying” process.

And that’s essentially what the researchers concluded.

It’s unlikely you can capture the complex nature of the cognitive and emotional processes at work when selecting a mate.

Try as you may to explain it to friends, or even more importantly, to women you meet, but articulating the qualities you’re looking for rarely predict the ones you ultimately pick.

And shouldn’t it be that way anyway?

Do you really want to start a relationship where you both pull out your checklists and once all the right boxes have been checked, you can move on to date #2?

Some things are better off remaining a mystery and meeting the right person is one of them.

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