Finding a love that lasts
People are looking for a partner for life, or at the very least, for a while. However, with all the other people that come into our lives, it’s kind of difficult to pinpoint who we’ll eventually end up with. Is there a science to picking the right partner for life? Is there a psychological phenomenon that drives a person to pick one from a possible hundred or thousand candidates? The science of psychology has been doing a pretty good job in finding the answers to these two questions.
Before one can truly understand the process of finding a partner for life, one needs to understand the science behind it. This will allow you to have a more logical and scientific approach to identifying, courting, and settling down with a potential partner.
So, let’s delve right into it and explore the various theories, laws, and principles that will guide you on how to find a partner for life.
Evolutionary theory – finding a lover through science
Science explains that people are driven to find a partner due to evolutionary theory, which states that there are behavioural tendencies, physical characteristics, and personality features that we tend to look out for in a partner that will help increase our chances of survival and produce better offspring. These factors vary from one person to the next.
There are also biological and anatomical differences between organisms that help dictate different optimal solutions to the same problem. For example, if two different animals (one with wings and one with nimble wings) were presented to a hungry predator, they would both have different solutions to a survival threat. The evolutionary approach to finding a mate dictates that the biological and anatomical differences between men and women will result in different preferences for partner selection. Women during their pregnancy are fragile and thus may need help and protection all throughout. Because fertility is limited, women are more likely to go for fertile males. This is the biological explanation for attraction between males and females.
Social role theory – love and dating in society
American psychologist Alice Eagly developed the Social Role Theory (SRT) wherein that social processes, rather than biological processes, dictate our social choices. Mate selection is then ruled by roles that women and men occupy in society. The preferences of both genders tend to shift as social roles and norms do.
Allow me to illustrate. Women are attracted to men with power and money because it gives them the ability to have money and power too. If, within the next decade, more positions of power are given to women, then there’s a chance that a man’s status and wealth may not matter that much to women anymore, but other factors will then come into play that will drive a woman to be attracted to a man.
Recent studies over the past 50 years show that there were indeed some fundamental changes in mate preferences amongst men and women. One example is the fact that maintaining a comfortable life on one salary is difficult, which then forces women to work and earn their own keep. Men and women are then putting more emphasis on their capacity for earning before social status when it comes to choosing a life partner. Trivial housework like cooking and cleaning are no longer considered as important criteria for selecting partners in both sexes.
Laws of attraction – principles in finding a lover
The laws of attraction govern the general processes of choosing a life partner. This goes way beyond its typical pop-psychology application of finding love. These laws actually explain what motivates a person to look for a potential candidate, or secure one target from the hundreds of other targets in his or her immediate area.
Exposure and Familiarity – Finding a love that’s familiar
We are driven to people who we are familiar to or to those who we are continually exposed to. The more time we spend with someone, the more likely that we will accept or even fall in love with him or her. There are times, however, when this rule is broken. This explains why people often find themselves attracted to their schoolmates, office workers, and even their gym buddies. Daily contact eventually turns strangers into friends over time.
Physical attraction – Looks can help you in finding someone to love
I am not going to subscribe to the idea that some people will be attracted to people even if they are not that physically attractive. The fact of the matter is, physical beauty is an important life advantage and is often a game-breaker in the mating game. The bottom line here is that you don’t want to spend your life with someone who you find physically repelling. As it turns, physical attraction goes way beyond your normal marketing and business schema. Ideally, people may not even go for the best looking one in the market, but for one they can afford. Is this a desperate act of settling down? No. It’s just being realistic. Rich people often go for other rich people simply because of the social role theory, and they’re not so much geared towards the evolutionary theory. Is there something wrong with going for someone not within your league? Nope.
Personality and Character – Two factors in love and dating
According to a research on personality factors, there were two of them that were considered most desirable by the respondents: competence and warmth. Competent people are more intelligent, socially skilled and are considered attractive. Kind people with a warm personality are also attractive. This is not to undermine the many other personality factors. It just so happens that the two are the most desired.
Proximity – Where can I find love that’s close to me?
We are attracted to things that are close to us, and this applies not only to business establishments, schools, and other items, but human beings as well. We are drawn to people who are just within walking or driving distance, even though some would often go for a relationship with someone who’s a Trans-Atlantic flight away from them. The great poet Yehuda Amichai wrote, “Advice for good love: Don’t love those from far away. Take for yourself one from nearby. The way a sensible house will take local stones for its building.” His statement makes sense. Long distance relationships are difficult to nurture and are more likely to fail.
Similarity – establish a relationship with someone similar to you
Amongst the other elements of the laws of attraction, similarity is the most powerful. We are drawn to people who are more like us. Christians are more likely to be drawn to other Christians, Muslims to Muslims, wealthy people to wealthy people, and the list goes on. Personality, values, and experience are what we consider to be the common parameters that we are drawn to in terms of similarity. More importantly, we are drawn to people who can COMPLETE or COMPLIMENT US. You can insert the cheesy Jerry Maguire line “You complete me”, if you want. Loving someone who’s similar to us is like killing two birds with one stone. He’s like you, and you’re like him , and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world for anyone.
Laying it all down – Where can I find love?
The laws of attraction are set and now it’s time to formulate a sound and effective strategy that will help you find a partner for life. We have heard the line “You’ll find someone to love when you’re not looking” before and it goes without saying that given the scientific theories and the processes of attraction, the saying actually makes sense. How are you more likely to find something when you’re not even looking for it? Most people would probably consider this as illogical or unreasonable, like comparing it to finding your car keys even if you don’t bother looking for them.
That line actually implies the active and passive way of looking for a partner. The active way would be to go to bars, logging on to dating sites, or going on blind dates. This has a higher success rate than those who are not looking at all. This can get very tedious though. You’ll eventually tire out because it becomes a rut in the long run.
Passively looking for love means preparing for the right one that comes along and walks into our life, and making sure that we are prepared to love someone we find to be worth loving.
Find Your Best Friend, find love.
The laws of attraction will help prove that finding your best friend and falling in love with them are the best things you can do when it comes to finding a partner for life. You have the principles of similarity, personality and character, and exposure and familiarity.
When we imagine the person we want to spend our lives with, we have to consider that this is a person that we will be together with every single day, and that he or she will be there with you on everything that you do. From washing the dishes to raising children to running a business, we need to look for someone who understands us, thinks like us, and vice-versa.
Life is supposed to be fun and it’s even more fun if you’re with the right person. If you’re not having fun with someone at this moment, you might want to rethink your current relationship.
Find a partner for life
Truth be told, the word ‘partner’ could sound very unromantic and way off when it comes to looking for someone to love. The person you spend your life should not be a fleeting fancy because that’s all he or she will ever be –fleeting.
I remember one story about a friend of mine who went to a week-long retreat, sort of like a detox from regular life, and it was held somewhere up in the mountains. All throughout, she found herself hiking, biking, and running on her own. That’s when it hit her. She came to me and said “I need someone who’s fast-paced, passionate, and highly competitive and relentless”. That’s when it hit me too. She didn’t need a lover. She needed a partner. A partner who she can race life through with.
A partner, unlike a lover, will do more than just satisfy your carnal needs. They will test and push your limits. They will encourage you. They will help you improve and better yourself. Life is difficult and it has its ups and downs. Successes and failures are part of it. When we do find a partner, everything else just becomes less painful and more exciting.
A partner shouldn’t be there to complicate your life. They should be there to keep you focused. They should be there to help you go through life, and you should also be able to reciprocate that, too.
Share a mutual reality with your partner for life
This sounds more like philosophical advice than anything, but I remember seeing a lot of people getting married to Star Trek themes wearing Star Trek costumes. That’s when I realized that this is what a mutual reality means. Following the laws of attraction, namely the principles of familiarity, similarity, and personality and character, there’s just something beautiful about being with someone who shares in your reality, or at the very least, understands your reality.
Gone is the cliche, “Complete opposites attract” because they don’t really last. If you and your partner don’t share similar beliefs on a basic level, then your relationship will be filled with nothing more than arguments.
To share your life with someone is to share your world. That world exists only in your mind and hopefully, in your lovers.
However, being with someone who’s too similar to you can be counterproductive. It can often result in a boring relationship because there’s no longer any challenge or any drive to go beyond your “reality”. You and your partner will be stuck in a rut.
Is it difficult to find someone who lives in the same world or reality as you? Maybe, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be similar to you. For example, I am a very enthusiastic Dungeons and Dragons player and I spend my weekends in gaming shops. I don’t have to require my partner to know how to play the game. I just need her to understand that this is my world and that she’s welcome to join me anytime.
Again, reciprocity is very important here. If you need her to understand your reality, then you also need to understand your partner’s reality.
The bottomline is, you need to use your head and listen to your heart when it comes to choosing a life partner. It’s exciting to open yourself to the possibility of the deepest form of intimacy and the celebration of life. The journey to finding a wonderful partner is part of the adventure and you want to enjoy it just as much as travelling through life with your new partner in times to come.