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How Women Choose Their Partners

We’ve talked about human attraction between men and women in the past here and here. Previous researchers argued that what women value depended on the type of relationship they were looking for. Women looking for long-term partners want someone who will be a good provider for them and their children, but women seeking short-term flings care more about masculinity and physical attractiveness, features that may be passed down to children.

New research, however, has identified four categories of characteristics women seek in a partner:

  • Good genes, reflected in desirable physical traits
    Women look for attractiveness because it means the person has “good genes” (whether or not they actually do).

  • Resources
    Who doesn’t like a person with good resources — a home, money, a stable good-paying job — that can help provide for them and future children?

  • The desire to have children and good parenting skills
    This, of course, only applies to women who are actually looking to have children (or more children).

  • Loyalty and devotion
    Not much point in getting involved in a relationship if the person you’re interested in being involved with isn’t able to be loyal and committed to you.

Most women attempt to secure the best combination of the qualities they desire from the same man. A small portion of women who do not find a partner with all the qualities may trade some characteristics for others.

We don’t think any of this is rocket science or particularly new. Women look for attractiveness because it means

Read the full article: How Women Choose Partners

How Women Choose Their Partners

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2008). How Women Choose Their Partners. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 16, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 25 Mar 2008
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Mar 2008
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