Choosing a partner
25 Ways on How to Choose a Life Partner
Finding the right partner feels like a whole lot of work. There are so many moving parts to a relationship–attractiveness, trust, honesty, communication, intimacy, sex life, etc.–that it may feel like there’s no hope in finding a partner that you can spend your life with.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is hope. Choosing a wife or a husband isn’t hard because it’s impossible. It’s hard because we go about it the wrong way. We look outward to the world and hope we can find someone to complete us, rather than looking inward at ourselves and making ourselves whole first.
The key to the best relationships or to choose a life partner is working on the one you have with yourself.
Let’s run that back for the purpose of clarity.
The key to the best relationships is working on the one you have with yourself.25 ways on how to choose a life partner
So, how to choose a life partner? What do you look for in a relationship? What to look for in a relationship?
It may sound cliche to you, and if it does, let that be a signal that you should lean in and pay attention. There are, in my opinion, 15 things that you need to address before choosing the right partner for marriage–or, let the right relationship find you.
What are the factors that you need to consider in choosing a lifelong partner?
Follow these factors to consider in choosing a lifelong partner, give each one your full attention, and be patient with the process. Your dream relationship is just around the corner.1. Learn to love yourself
This is probably the hardest step, but if you can get over this hump, you’ll have plenty of momentum to get through the other two. Learning to love yourself is a two-phase process: first, you need to acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses. Then you need to appreciate and love them for what they are.
For practicing self-love, know that every part of you has value. Relish in what you’re good at, recognize where you can improve. It’s all an amazing melting pot of who you are.
Here’s the key, though: if you can’t learn to recognize your greatness in all that is good and bad about you, no one else will.
Until you appreciate all that you are and own it, there will always be some subconscious doubt that you give off. It’s like a “quality relationship repellant” of sorts. People will feel that self-doubt and not want to partake in that baggage.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
How you treat yourself is a billboard showing everyone else how you should be treated. Make sure that message is a good one.2. Get real (without judgment) about your dating patterns
Now that you’ve learned to love yourself a little better (it’s never going to be perfect, we’re only human), it’s time to do some inventory on your past. So, show yourself some grace. Be kind to your former self. We are all flawed. You are no exception.
As you look back at your previous serious relationships, you’ll start to recognize a pattern. You may notice that you picked people that you knew you couldn’t trust so that you could have an easy out if they acted shadily.
You may notice that the people you latched onto didn’t have a lot going on in their lives. Maybe you wanted to feel superior, or maybe you wanted to be the center of their world.
Related Reading: New Relationship Advice to Have the Best Start3. Be unapologetically you
This step is the most fun because it is the ultimate filter. You are going to weed out people that aren’t a good fit for you and draw in those that are perfect for you. It might rub some people the wrong way, but if it does, let them go.
Once you’ve done the work to love yourself a little more, and recognize your missteps of the past, you can step into the shoes you were meant to walk in all along. You will exude confidence and be a magnet to quality people that will appreciate every morsel for your being.
Will it feel uncomfortable at first? Absolutely.
But there will be more beauty here than anything you’ve experienced in the past as you’ve stumbled from person to person. This will be your sign to the world that you’re ready for whoever can handle you.
That person will show up, I promise you.4. Look for someone who makes you laugh
When you are on the lookout for a suitable partner, make sure the person who interests you is someone with a good sense of humor, and this is what you must seek while choosing a marriage partner without any doubts.
At the end of the day, you just want someone you can wind down with, and if the person has the tendency to remain glum, you are not going to quite like it.5. Learn from your experience
What went wrong in your relationships? How much did your actions or your partner’s play a role in the demise of those relationships?
Each relationship teaches us one or the other things. These lessons are very vital in order to move ahead.
Now that you have an experience start switching things up. Make a conscious effort to avoid people that remind you of your past. Give more weightage to the elements of the relationship that really matter to you. Try not to ignore them as you did in the past.
Doing the same things you did in the past won’t get you better results in your future. Acknowledge where you went wrong, then change that behavior to invite better people into your world.
Related Reading: 6 Tips for Finding Your True Love6. Opposites attract
While choosing the right partner for marriage, it is often said that opposites attract. It is because when you look for a suitable partner, the things that you might be missing are already there in the other person who draws you towards them. In a way, it makes you feel whole.
So, when you are choosing the right one for yourself, make sure they aren’t exactly like you. At the end of the day, there should be certain levels of surprise and mystery.
Related Reading: How to Stay Together When You Are Different From Each Other7. Ensure you both have common basics
As much as you would like your suitable partner to be a little different from you, you need to ensure that both of you share similar values.
Having shared values reinforces the foundation of your relationship. Simple things such as consensus on the number of children you want or living within your means create a conducive environment for your relationship to thrive.
The core values should match with your suitable partner to a certain extent in order to avoid conflict in the long run— for example, your thoughts on parenting, marriage, spirituality and other beliefs.
Related Reading: Values Truly Make a Difference in Marriage and Life8. Don’t settle for less
There could be times when you will feel desperate about how to choose a life partner for yourself. You would want to adjust and compromise and settle for less than what you once wanted. However, we suggest that you wait.
It is because settling for less will not give you any feeling of fulfillment either in the short term or long term.
Check out these signs to understand if you are really following the pattern of settling for less:9. Find someone who is a first, a good human
At one point, you will feel seeing a person that you have found your suitable partner because they shower you with love, gifts, and compliments, but that is not all you must look for. As you move ahead with each other, love will take a backseat, and you both will be exposed to each other as a person- who you are from inside.
So, always choose a good human being over someone who is only competent to express their love better.10. Check your communication compatibility
Are you able to communicate well with your potential partner? Communication is one of the important elements of the relationship. If you both are not able to comfortably talk or listen to each other, it either needs to be worked upon, or you can consider another choice.
Effective communication is what keeps the relationship going. In the long run, this is one of the biggest problem-solvers in the relationship.11. Be open to dates
Just because you have had heartbreaks in the past doesn’t mean you should lose hope. In order to choose the right guy or girl, you should shed your apprehensions, go out and be open to meeting people.
But how can dating and courtship help you choose your lifetime partner?
This will also expand your horizon and help you understand what exactly you are looking for in a suitable partner. This means you learn a lot about yourself apart from teaching yourself to take rejections so hard.
Related Reading: Are You Ready to Start Dating Again? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions12. Avoid quick decisions
Just because you are on a spree on how to choose a life partner doesn’t mean you have to make quick decisions as soon as you find someone good enough. Remember, all that glitters is not gold. Each person has different layers.
So, take your time to understand the person before delving deeper into the relationship.13. Maintain a distance from negativity
In order to get real with both phases of that process, you need to create space in your life. Create distance between you and the toxic people that may fog your judgment.
Create space for yourself by meditating or picking up a hobby that you used to enjoy. Do anything you can to give yourself the mental space necessary to sit back and see yourself for who you are.14. Spend a lot of time together
The more time you spend with your prospective partner, the better it will be for you to understand them.
So, in the process of choosing a spouse, do not avoid meeting them. Meet at different times and different places, from brunches to dinner dates, from adventure parks to movie parks. Meet them often to get to know all shades of them.15. Remain positive
How to choose a husband or wife?
Last but not least, remain positive. Do not think negatively just because you see everyone around you committed while you are still struggling to find a suitable partner. The more negative you are, the more it will show up in your conversations, and it is not very attractive, is it?16. Choose someone who respects you
It is difficult to lead your life with someone who disrespects you, your personality or downplays your ambitions in life. When choosing a life partner be sure to select someone who will respect all aspects of your life. Mutual respect is one of the defining traits to look for in a life partner.17. Choose an honest life partner
If a relationship is not enshrined in a culture of honesty and trust, it will definitely fail. To build a culture of honesty and trust in your relationship, choosing the best life partner who does not refrain from open and genuine communication is important.18. Consider a life partner keen on your life
A person willing to be in a long-term relationship with you will show genuine support for your ambitions and goals in life. Your potential life partner should be supportive of your plans to advance your career or pursue a worthy course.19. Ability to cope with your family
One of the factors to consider when choosing a life partner is to consider their ability to adjust with your family.
Your family will always be a key support system in your life. They can tell if your prospective life partner is suitable or unsuitable for you. If he or she cannot cope with your family members, you might be choosing a life partner who is not right for you.20. Assess the intellectual level of your partner
If you are a high achiever and aggressive in pursuing your dreams, consider a person with the same attributes.
Choosing a laid-back person could cause problems in your relationship. Both of you must view things and reason almost from the same standpoint. Out of all the factors to consider in choosing a lifetime partner, similar intellectual prowess.21. Nurture great friendships first
Having a network of true friends provides perspective as you prepare for a relationship. Great friendships provide a basis for what love ought to be. They demonstrate that love should be purely based on choice as opposed to any need.22. Anger management skills
A relationship involves two people with unique personalities. At times, you might have ugly arguments in which negative emotions are high. You might say hurtful things about one another. How your potential life partner reacts to anger reveals a lot about future reactions. If your prospective life partner cannot handle anger well, the situation can get out of control when you get married.
Ability to manage or control their anger are some vital qualities of a good marriage partner.23. Ability to forgive and forget
Closely related to anger management skills is your partner’s ability to forgive and forget. Love does not always revolve around sex, kissing and other intimate stuff. Arguments are deemed to occur in one way or another. Be keen to get a partner who does not keep dwelling on disagreements that happened in the past.24. Consider taking the Rice Purity test
This test entails a set of have you ever questions in which you are supposed to give a yes or no response. The questions entail issues such as sex and drugs. The test assesses your “purity” level. Look for a comprehensive guide about the Rice Purity test to get more useful information.25. Willingness to invest in the relationship
A relationship is a two-way street. Each party must be determined to make the relationship work. When choosing the right partner for marriage, select a person who allocates time for you and demonstrates concern for your needs.Takeaway
To wrap up, if you are wondering how to choose the right partner for marriage, you have to use both your heart and brain when choosing a life partner.
As you select your partner, these tips are golden, and you’d be wise to give them a go if you’re on the search for your Mr. or Mrs. Right. They are out there, but they won’t find their way to you until you start loving yourself and showing that to the world around you.
Good luck. It’s about to get really good for you.
How To Choose A Life Partner: 5 Factors To Consider
It's better to use the logical part of our brain to determine whether the other person has the right "stuff" to make a suitable long-term partner than to feel our way to this decision. Of course, what we feel is essential, and someone may be a great fit with all the important qualities that we are looking for, but if our body doesn't react to them — no attraction, no chemistry, no "wow" — that's also important information on which to base our decision. We need both heart and head to decide.
Here are five clues that will help you find out whether or not someone has the qualities to go the distance:
It's important to know how connected a potential partner is to their family members and the quality of these relationships. Try to determine how much they are able to accept, forgive, and have family members' backs. Also look for how much they blame or make trouble for others.
I look for two red flags when I'm talking with a client about their family history. One is when they indicate that everything is or was terrible; the other is when they say that everything is or was perfect.
A good sign of balance is, for example, the following description of a family member: "Well, my dad's an interesting guy. He's so loving and generous. He had a hard struggle with depression. He's a glass-half-empty sort of guy, yet he tries hard to be more upbeat. The problem is he's very reluctant to seek help and kind of stuck in his ways. But, growing up, I remember how, most of all, he always loved and supported me. Although he didn't often show up for my activities, I always knew that it wasn't because he didn't care." This is balanced; he tells it like it is.
It is important to discover what kinds of friendships someone has had or currently have. The best sign is that they still keep a few of their oldest friends.
Additionally, see if they've been able to take some responsibility for their failed relationships. Do they speak of past lovers in derogatory terms, such as "She was crazy" or "He was a total narcissist"? Occasionally it might be true, but most of us look pretty unappealing to the other at the end of a relationship, and it's not usually the whole truth. Ask whether your potential partner tries to be fair-minded.
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How they handle anger
You'll need to observe this one rather than asking about it. Watch how they behave when they don't get their own way, are disappointed, or feel angry. In life, we have to manage not getting our own way as well as hurt and disappointment. How people act with others under these circumstances says a lot about how they will one day act with you.
Generosity is considered the No. 1 key to a good relationship, according to a long-term study at the University of Virginia. Watch how generous your potential partner is in their treatment and discussion of others. When we are lovestruck, we are all generous and loving, but you need to look for indications of how generous someone will be when the love potion wears off.
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How full their life is
Determine whether they have meaning in their life that doesn't relate to you — interests, passions, a history of expanding themselves. Do they have big dreams or a history of making those dreams come true?
Paradoxically, the key to intimacy is the ability to be separate. Until you know yourself and feel whole and clear in what you want for your life, you'll never be able to be the best partner you can be. It's counterintuitive, but we really only get the most intimacy out of a relationship when we have done the most work on ourselves.
Putting it all together.
Imagine there are two parts to an "interview" with a potential partner, like with a job applicant. In part one, trust your heart, the chemistry, and your intuition.
If only things were so simple. This is clearly not enough. I bet 99% of people have felt that someone was "the one," only to be shocked and disappointed when, later in the relationship, you find out a whole lot of things that you totally missed.
In part two of the "interview," look at their abilities, their references, their experience, and all the other objective data that points to whether they are a good fit.
We have two parts to our brain, both of which are essential to use when choosing a partner. The "feeling" part is an important indicator, but the part where rational and reasonable decisions are made must be an equal partner.
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13 criteria for choosing a partner for life
Man and woman
1. Laughter. Find someone who will genuinely laugh at your jokes (hence having a similar sense of humor) and won't take life too seriously. Believe me, shared laughter can be the best way out of many useless arguments.
2. Support. It's not just about being behind a partner like behind a stone wall - you must be sure that your loved one will not make dirty linen in public and sort things out with you in public.
3. Attractiveness. Of course, this is not yet a guarantee of a long and happy relationship, and yet it is extremely important that the partner initially attracts you.
4. Communication. Look for someone with whom you can talk about everything in the world, and especially to discuss any "uncomfortable" feelings and any difficult situation. The one who will be honest with you, who will not betray.
5. Breadth of views. For a long-term relationship, it is extremely important that the partner does not judge others and does not rush to judgments at all, especially if you yourself are characterized by flexible thinking.
6. Availability. Look for someone who will be in touch with you - physical, intellectual and emotional. Such a person will not leave you guessing what he or she meant. You do not have to puzzle over what is still going on between you. Everything will be extremely transparent and understandable.
7. Interest. It is important that the partner is interested in what is happening in your life, but at the same time he should also have his own circle of interests.
8. Proximity. Sex, like appearance, is not everything, but a lot. Try to find someone with whom you match.
9. Constructive criticism. Your task is to find someone who will be able to give you honest but correct feedback so that you can grow and develop, and who will be ready to hear criticism in his address.
10. Acceptance. In a long-term relationship, it is extremely important that you and your partner accept and love each other for who you are, without hoping that the person next to you will one day change.
11. A sober perception of relationships and family life. It is important to understand that the “happily ever after” we know from fairy tales does not happen by itself. A happy life together requires work, and ideal "second halves" simply do not exist. Relationships are always a process, not a result, and perfection in it, most likely, cannot be achieved. You have to be ready for this.
12. Embrace. Look for someone whose hugs can brighten up the end of even the worst day, with whom you can find support and comfort.
13. Look. It happens like this: a person looks at you - and everything is clear without words: that he loves you, that he is on your side. This is what you should strive for.
Of course, even the compliance of a potential partner with all the above criteria is not a guarantee that the relationship with him will last a lifetime. People change and there's no getting around that. What may seem attractive at first may later become the main cause of quarrels.
Your main task - which, however, requires a separate detailed discussion - is to establish relationships with yourself, because this is the person with whom you will spend your whole life. And if there is someone nearby who shares your desires, aspirations, views and plans for life - well, give him or her a chance and see where it leads.
Text: Polina FrankePhoto source: Getty Images
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Genetics and partner choice - Knife
the most successful in evolutionary terms of behavior or the derivation of universal criteria for attractiveness. Alas, this ignored the basic level of the formation of a propensity for a particular behavior - genetic. Before moving on to this level, let's get acquainted with the basic concepts from the field of genetics, which will appear in the following presentation.
Love at first breath
At the molecular level, partner choice is influenced by major histocompatibility complex (major histocompatibility complex) is a region of the genome that plays a role in the adaptive functions of vertebrate immunity: in particular, MHC encodes proteins for the recognition of pathogens or foreign elements carried out by lymphocytes.
Studies in rodents and fish have shown that animals prefer to choose partners whose MHC is different from their own. This may contribute to the avoidance of inbreeding, as well as increase the resistance of offspring to infectious diseases, since MHC heterozygotes, due to the combination of different MHC genotypes, provide more antigens for the immune system. On the other hand, as shown in fish studies, excessive MHC polymorphism may be associated with an increased parasitic load, since hyperactivation of the immune system can harm not only foreign, but also the body's own cells. Therefore, from the point of view of successful reproduction, the optimal level of differences in the MHC genotypes of partners does not necessarily have to correspond to the maximum.
Genetic essentialism: why we believe in genetics as God and what DNA tests don't tell about us
Since MHC genes affect the characteristics of odors emanating from an individual, recognition of the MHC genotype can be carried out through smell. Detection of MHC-mediated odors can occur through the vomeronasal organ located behind the nasal septum above the hard palate in a number of vertebrates. The vomeronasal organ contains receptors that detect non-volatile organic compounds, which, in particular, include Pheromones that serve as a catalyst for the activation of reproductive behavior. The content of MHC molecules in the vomeronasal organ serves as the basis for considering their potential role in distinguishing the aroma of related and unrelated individuals, which is confirmed by such examples as the ability of mice to distinguish between pheromones of other individuals depending on their MHC genotype.
Is this principle of MHC genotype identification observed among humans?
First, to date, no study has succeeded in isolating human pheromones. The role of pheromones, attributed to to two steroids, androstadienone and estratetraenol, is questioned with more and more research.
However, this does not exclude the existence of pheromones in humans, since there is a possibility of overcoming the methodological limitations inherent in current research. Secondly, the mentioned vomeronasal organ is insufficiently formed in humans, which made some researchers doubt its ability to provide full-fledged olfactory communication. However, there are also statements that the idea of excessive poverty of human olfactory functions is nothing more than a myth. This myth is based on the erroneous assumptions of 19th century anatomists who suggested that the small size of the olfactory bulb in the human brain, in which odor processing takes place, indicates that the olfactory functions in humans are less developed than in other animals. Subsequent studies have shown that a person is able to smell all volatile substances larger than 1-2 atoms, distinguish more than a trillion olfactory stimuli, and even, like dogs, track the smell along a ten-meter trajectory in an open field. Thus, human olfactory abilities should not interfere with the ability to identify the MHC genotype by smell, which is confirmed by the studies described below.Fig. 1. Comparison of the trajectories of the movement of a dog and a person who track the smell. The dog tracked the smell of the pheasant, and the man tracked the chocolate essential oil. Source
The human version of MHC is called human leukocyte antigens (HLA, human leukocyte antigens). In the first study of the relationship between HLA genotype and sexual preferences, a group of women were asked to rate the smell emanating from T-shirts worn by men for two nights. Information about the appearance and other characteristics of men was not provided. As expected, women rated fragrances owned by men, whose HLA genotype was different from their own, higher.
An interesting result was also obtained: if a woman used oral contraceptives, she preferred the scent of men with a similar HLA genotype. The authors suggested that hormonal contraception promotes the production of steroids that "simulate" pregnancy at the physiological level. In this case, preference may be given to the smells of related individuals, since among the various species it is they who provide support in caring for offspring.
Direct testing of the effect of oral contraceptives on flavor preferences showed that, as a result of using contraception, single women began to prefer the scent of men with a similar HLA genotype, and women in relationships preferred the scents of men with a different HLA genotype from their own.
The latter can be explained by an increased sensitivity to potential relationships outside the formed pair in order to increase the heterozygosity of the offspring, which was observed, in particular, among birds.
Sex and aging: Pheromones work, but not in the way you think
A follow-up study involving participants of both sexes confirmed the relationship between olfactory preferences and the severity of differences in HLA genotypes.
A study in which participants of both sexes were asked to rate the smell of T-shirts of the opposite sex showed that men preferred the smell of women with a different HLA genotype. No correlation was found between female-preferred odors and the degree of difference between male HLA genotypes, but women preferred the aroma of HLA-heterozygous males, which may be consistent with providing diversity in the HLA genotype of offspring in order to increase resistance to pathogens. In particular, it was found that it was HLA-heterozygous people who showed greater resistance to HIV infection, expressed in a delay in the onset of AIDS, as well as to hepatitis B and C.
More realistic conditions for the perception of other people's odors involve the frequent use of perfume. The availability of perfumes based on countless combinations of fragrances increases consumer selectivity and suggests the “noise” of natural olfactory communication. However, one of the studies showed that individual preferences in the choice of perfume correlate with the HLA genotype of a person. At the same time, similar effects were not observed in relation to the choice of perfume for a partner. Thus, in accordance with the logic of the results obtained, the selected perfume not only suppresses the natural smell, but complements it in such a way that, due to the detected correlation, there is an increase in body odors that signal the HLA genotype to a potential partner.
An electrophysiological study of the relationship between aroma preferences and HLA showed that activation in response to aroma in HLA-like people occurred faster and was more pronounced. This effect was observed regardless of whether the participant perceived the smell of a member of the same or the opposite sex. At the same time, brain activation in men in response to the aroma of HLA-similar men affected the frontal areas, while in women, in response to the aroma of HLA-similar women, it affected the parietal areas, which may indicate the implementation of additional functions associated with competition between men and communal behavior among women. . An increased response to HLA genotype similarity may indicate that genotype similarity is a more important signal for inbreeding avoidance than a signal of genotypic differences that promote attraction.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
When asked what exactly attracts people in their chosen one or chosen one, one can hear a description of beautiful eyes or a gentle smile much more often in response than mentioning a pleasant smell, since it is visual information that serves people one of the key criteria for choosing a partner (at least at the initial stage of interaction). Therefore, in the context of a discussion of the HLA genotype, one might get the impression that, since its detection is based in such a modality as smell, its influence on the choice of a partner may not be so important for a person. But surprisingly, the HLA genotype also affects preferences regarding the appearance of a potential partner.
For example, a study was conducted in which women rated the attractiveness of photographs of unfamiliar men. Contrary to the results obtained earlier in the evaluation of odors, women rated higher the external attractiveness of those men whose HLA genotype was similar to their own. This preference can be explained by the fact that the participants assessed the attractiveness of men in the context of short-term and long-term relationships, and it was in the context of long-term relationships that the preference for men similar in HLA genotype was more pronounced. The second explanation may be more intriguing: preference for HLA-genotype-different partners in the olfactory modality and close HLA-genotype partners in the visual modality may provide the optimal level of genetic compatibility already discussed above, suggesting an average degree of heterozygosity.
In other studies, HLA heterozygosity has already been directly studied as a factor influencing the preference for appearance when choosing a partner. Thus, it was shown that women prefer photographs of the faces of HLA-heterozygous men, and this preference did not depend on the similarity of the evaluating woman and the evaluating man according to the HLA genotype. In contrast, two other studies found no relationship between HLA heterozygosity and facial attractiveness, neither when men rated women nor when both sexes rated the opposite sex. At the same time, in a later study, the level of HLA heterozygosity positively correlated with the attractiveness of male faces rated by women, but was not associated with the attractiveness of female faces rated by men.
So, there is evidence that at the olfactory level, people prefer partners that are different in terms of the HLA genotype, and at the visual level they prefer similar ones.
Despite this seeming contradiction, the trends observed in the visual modality without regard to genotype are consistent with the results of a study in which external similarities were found between wives and husbands. This allows us to judge that when choosing a partner for a long-term relationship, a person can be guided by the criterion of self-similarity, which implies the similarity of genotypes.
In a study in which participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of several variants of their partner's face, preference was given to the option that combined the features of the participant's own face and his partner (see Fig. 3). And for a given participant, this particular option seemed to be more preferable even in comparison with the combination of a partner’s photo and a universal prototype (see Fig. 2), despite the fact that other participants rated this face as more attractive. Optimal blending of photos assumed only 22% of the inclusion of features of the second person in the photo of the partner, and participants did not detect the presence of their own features in the images. Therefore, preference processes are presumably activated at an unconscious level.Fig. 2. An example of the prototypes used to mix photos (female prototype, male prototype, androgynous prototype). SourceFig. 3. Examples of combining the original image with the facial features of other people or prototypes. Source
Another study assessed in isolation the feelings of trust evoked by images of faces and the attractiveness of those faces. Participants chose faces they trust, faces attractive for long-term relationships, and faces attractive for short-term relationships. The factor of the similarity of the faces of the participant and the person in the photograph increased the feeling of trust, did not affect attractiveness in the context of long-term relationships, and reduced attractiveness in the context of short-term relationships. Therefore, the similarity of the faces of the spouses in the previously mentioned study can be explained by the fact that in building long-term relationships, in addition to attractiveness, the prosocial aspect, which implies trust between partners, is also taken into account.
Echoes of Childhood
In the study mentioned earlier, not only was there an outward resemblance between spouses, but also between wives and their mothers-in-law. It is possible to assume that this similarity is a consequence of the choice of a partner based on the principle of self-similarity and the overlap of genotypes (and, accordingly, phenotypes) of parents and offspring. But a number of facts require additional explanation. These include the inverse relationship revealed in the same study between the degree of rejection of a man by his own mother in childhood and the severity of the similarity between wife and mother-in-law; the later discovered similarity between husbands and women's adoptive fathers, as well as a direct relationship between the emotional support from the father and the degree of his external resemblance to the woman's husband.
These tendencies are explained within the paradigm of sexual imprinting . In accordance with it, the choice of a partner may depend not only on the genotype (HLA) and phenotype (external signs), but also on the features of the formation of attachment to the parent of the opposite sex in early childhood. If the family environment in early childhood is favorable and positive contact with the parent is encouraged, the child creates a mental template for that parent's qualities and, at puberty, prefers those who fit that template. The emotional and physical distance between the child and the parent disrupts the formation of such a template and prevents the recognition of parent-specific traits in potential partners.
Nevertheless, the logic of the sexual imprinting paradigm was broken when we moved from studies of the similarity of external features of partners and parents of participants to a comparison of their personal qualities. In particular, wives and mothers-in-law matched on the scale of conscientiousness (consciousness) of the “five-factor model of personality” (eng. Big five), but at the same time, the less emotional warmth and more rejection men received from their mother in childhood, the more likely they were to choose as spouses of women whose qualities in terms of emotional stability were are similar to with the qualities of mothers-in-law. This result contradicts the direct correlation described above between a favorable relationship with a parent in childhood and the similarity of the external qualities of a parent and a spouse. This contradiction can be explained by the fact that the process of choosing a partner, taking into account his personal qualities, is more complex in comparison with the assessment of appearance. For example, a man's wife may resemble his mother, with whom he developed a negative relationship in childhood, only in a limited set of personality traits, but at the same time surpass her in a number of other more important traits.
The described result also corresponds to the concept of retraumatization that appears in a number of psychotherapeutic currents: a negative experience of relations with a parent can act as a trauma and repeat the traumatic influence already within the framework of choosing a partner. It would seem that a traumatic experience should lead to the avoidance of the image of the parent as a source of psychological discomfort and pain. But the processes of retraumatization involve the involuntary repetition of traumatic patterns in an attempt to survive the previous negative experience, to give vent to incomplete experiences and to finally overcome the trauma. Often, such reproduction forms a vicious circle and can serve as an indicator for contacting a specialist.
The call of genes in established relationships
Returning to the genetic factors of partner choice, let's turn to studies of couples already in relationships. Some of these studies have shown that partners share more HLA alleles in common than chance would suggest. The other part did not find significant relationships. And only one study found a reduced frequency of identical HLA alleles among pairs of Hutterites (representatives of a religious community).
The question arises: can the HLA genotype predict not only the formation of relationships as such, but also the quality of these relationships? One of the studies showed that the influence of the genotype did not extend to all possible components of the quality of relationships, but only to several indicators of a woman's sexual satisfaction (sexual responsiveness, satisfaction with the level of one's own arousal, and sexual adventurousness). This influence implied that the more common HLA alleles found in women and their partners, the worse these indicators were.
In addition, the authors found that HLA genotype similarity of partners positively correlated with the number of sexual relationships outside the couple during the current relationship .
Also, the more similar the HLA genotype partners were, the more during the fertile period of the cycle the woman found other men attractive, but not her own partner. For men, similar results were not observed.
A more recent study, which pioneered the use of higher resolution HLA genotype analysis, showed for both sexes that differences in partners' HLA genotypes increased partnership satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and desire to have children. Predictably, these results were accompanied by the fact that partners with different HLA genotypes preferred each other's scent.
The conducted studies do not yet allow deriving an unambiguous law, according to which, based on the HLA genotype of a person, it would be possible to determine optimal partners for him. Any categorical conclusions would be hasty. But these studies are already enough to notice that a person shows a tendency to partners that are close in genotype (especially in the context of long-term relationships), the closeness of which does not violate the criterion of genetic diversity. Both polar scenarios - inbreeding and crossing with representatives of other populations - have their own advantages and disadvantages, so the optimal level of HLA similarity is in the middle.
Bonds of fear. How champions of traditional values invent a new past
Genetic factors can only serve as a starting point for starting the processes that determine partner choice. However, it is possible to assume that their as yet insufficiently studied influence is so great that all the reasons that we voice in attempts to explain why we are attracted to a particular person look like an unconvincing rationalization in hindsight, as if there is something irresistible and more behind it.