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Potential Partners: What Do We look For?

Dating can be as tricky a business as can trying to find a date. When we begin dating, we often forget to consider what we are looking for in others we would like to meet. We set off with a definite view of the perfect dating partner. The moment we are introduced to someone, or view some photos of profiles or personal ads online – we forget everything! Why is this? Because we are swayed by many factors, in other words, we are not as set in our ways as much as we like to think we are.

Beauty, of course, often holds sway. However much we like to say we are not, there are few of us who wouldn’t date someone attractive. It is in our blood and we would usually say yes to an attractive person. Beauty tends to rub off on those around it, so if we associate ourselves with what we consider are good looks we immediately feel good about ourselves also. Most of us are not models and therefore we tend not to meet those who are but we notice it in the things around us. If you can appreciate something beautiful, then you can also appreciate someone beautiful. To ignore it is a lie.

However, if we simply lived and dated by beauty alone we would be too shallow to succeed in any real sense. We would have 2 dimensional personalities and be uninteresting in any meaningful way. It is often leveled as a criticism in attractive people that they don’t have very strong personalities because they have traded on their looks for too long. Conversely, a conventionally unattractive person can often have a strong and interesting personality to make up for the lack of attractiveness in a physical sense. So it’s clear that as an isolating factor beauty (or more specifically, physical attraction) is to some extent important but it is not the only important thing when dating others.

We look for humor in a person because we want them to feel good by being with us and we want them to feel good about themselves in their decisions. We also want ourselves to feel good and to relax and have fun and a great time. Therefore when we date someone, humor is a must if we are going to ever reach a level of relaxation in the company of that person. Laughter and humor is about creating a mental connection and understanding about the world around us. It is a demonstration of a commonly accepted set of beliefs between us and it allows a demonstration of a level of understanding quickly not known in almost any other form.

When dating others, we look for eye contact upon meeting because it is the most direct sense of understanding and truth and honesty. We almost always look at each other’s eyes first when we meet as this is where we first find attraction. It is beyond me here to explain why that may be but I do like the expression that our eyes are the gateway to the soul. I tend to agree. The smallest change in the glint of our eye conveys so many emotions and it is thus that we first begin our instant relationship.

When dating others we look for common understanding and acceptance. We do not seek partners as judges but as part of our own emotional support system. We like to admire and to be admired, however subtly. In another parlance, we would say that we appreciate and like being appreciated. Either way, we enjoy the company of another because we make each other feel good about themselves. It’s an unspoken understanding. Where relationships begin to crack later is where the understanding and support is replaced by criticism due to internal frustrations of lack of support. Initially when we date, this understanding and acceptance is displayed through many different methods from conversation and laughter in agreement on a topic, to agreement in places to visit on dates and food to eat, drinks to consume, movies to go see etc. It’s all part of agreeing based on a common understanding, finding the common ground between us.

We look for honesty and truth when dating. It can be like one long test, especially when we are not new to the dating game and have had our fingers burned previously. We know that it is within everyone to embellish the truth and unfortunately part of the dating ritual is to talk ourselves up, so sell ourselves as worthy. When this happens we must be careful not to go too far and add things that are untrue. Later our burgeoning relationship could fall apart through such white lies. And yet there are too few of us who stick 100% to the truth alone. There will come a point when we all add in some substance to our conversations to help our image to our date and to be honest this can all be part of the fun. But the basis of honesty has to be maintained when dating otherwise it is a pointless exercise. We are looking to share our quality time with someone so let’s be truthful from the outset.

There is an argument that when we are dating we are seeking someone like ourselves, a reflection of what we already feel about ourselves and the world around us. I think that is a mistaken view. I think what this theory really means is that we want to love and be loved and to allow this to happen we hope to find someone who not only matches some set of important criteria that we set ourselves but also someone who sees the world as we do. Not exactly perhaps, but close enough that we can grow further both as individuals and as a couple.

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