Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Women Want (and men, too)

Various studies show that people are not always very accurate in understanding their choices, including choices in dating. Love may not always be blind but 20/20 vision seems pretty much out of the question.

Here’s an example from a study published last year (2008) by Paul Eastwick and Eli Finkel at Northwestern University. To make a (very) complicated story brief, they found, on average, that men say that what they are looking for most in a woman is good looks while women say that what they are looking for most in a man is earning potential. Those are tendencies found in various studies over many years, so this is not shocking. However, using speed-dating methods with follow-ups over time, the researchers found that both men and women were most influenced by physical attraction followed by earning potential. Men and women seem to want physically attractive partners who also bring home the bacon. Sizzle.

This could mean that women have become more like men or it could be that there has always been less of a real difference between men and women, and newer methods are better at uncovering what people may really want. I personally think things have changed in how attraction, dating, and mating work. It’s worth thinking about what all this means when it comes to life-long love, since that’s what most people want. If you are looking for love, it’s especially important to think about what you want and need on a host of dimensions so that everything does not ride on looks or money.