What Men and Women are REALLY Looking For in a Partner

Are men and women really that different?  Are they looking for the same things or are they on totally different pages when it comes to an ideal partner?  In my discussions with people I have realized that men and women really aren’t that different when it comes to what they really want and what they are really looking for in a partner.  How so? Well, we all have certain needs that require fulfillment and that’s why we seek companionship.  How those needs manifest and how they are fulfilled perhaps are different for each and every person, however, the needs are inherently the same.  We all need to be loved, accepted, desired, respected, trusted and admired by our significant other.  Although it isn’t always what we get because we settle for less or we “bend” on certain needs, our needs are the same regardless.

What Men and Women are REALLY Looking For in a Partner

I came across an article recently that cited a worldwide study about what people wanted in a potential partner.  People were asked to pick the top 3 traits that were most important to them from a long list.  The results were quite fascinating.  Why? Well, it turns out men and women, as I mentioned earlier, really value similar things on the most part.  They might not rank them the same way, but, generally, the same things appear on the list.  In order to meet their needs, and to be satisfied and happy, they require certain qualities in their partner.  What are these qualities?

Here is the list that I pulled from the article:

from http://lehmiller.com/blog/2013/6/17/do-men-and-women-prefer-different-traits-in-a-romantic-partn.html

What I find most fascinating is that intelligence ranks quite high in addition to humor as well as honesty.  Those are the traits and qualities that were similarly chosen for both men and women regardless of their sexual orientation.  Not surprising, however, is that men rank looks much higher than women do, but still it’s not ranked the highest.  Interestingly enough, money and social status do not rank in the top 10 for either.  I totally thought it would for women.  Traditionally, we think that men are looking for physical traits and women are a bunch of gold diggers … right? Wrong.  Obviously, if we take this study as an example, that isn’t the case.

Looking For in a PartnerMen did rank age in the top 10 whereas women didn’t but it really didn’t rank that high comparatively.  I would understand why that is, because in my own experience dating and keeping my ear to the ground, women seem to be more flexible with a man’s age whereas men like a woman who is younger and, in general, of “fertile” age.  But, of course, it’s all relative and depends on what type of relationship people are seeking.  Ranking on the women’s list and not on the men’s in ambition.  Again, I totally get that.  A man who is ambitious is a HUGE turn on.  At least it is for me.  I am very much attracted to a man who knows what he wants and goes for it.  Even if he doesn’t succeed he keeps trying for something new.  I get excited when I see someone excited about what they are doing.  I would imagine most people feel the same as me.  Keeping in mind, of course that all studies cannot be applied to each and every person, but it does give you an idea of what men and women are really looking for in a partner.

Intelligence, Humor and Honesty

What women and men are really looking for in a partner is someone they can have an intelligent conversation with (whatever that means for them), someone who is honest and someone who has a healthy sense of humor.  Sounds pretty reasonable to me.  I’ve spoken about these traits before several times.  Any well rounded person has all these qualities.  The important thing is that you find someone who is the right fit for you and not to settle for less than you deserve.  Simple enough, isn’t it? Perhaps.

Do you agree with the list? Would rank things differently? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva


  1. I just wonder if what people say they want in a partner and what they actually go for is the same thing, which may be where all the trouble comes.

    If women stuck to valuing humor, intelligence, honesty and kindness and moving on when we didn’t find them, there would be far less unhappiness around.

    I have to admit, the first thing I noticed about my husband was his looks – I just struck lucky with the other qualities. But I wonder if his character and values had been different, I would have been mesmerized by his looks and stayed with him even though he wasn’t exactly right for me.


    • Thanks Ana. You make a good point, we do want all those good qualities but are immediately attracted to charming good looks. But remember what I’ve mentioned before, looks may attract you but it’s the other qualities that keep you.


  2. I have no clue what I’m looking for. It seems to change with every relationship/man I’m with. Sigh…..


  3. Like David, I think it’s fascinating how different the priorities are for men and women! It’s very eye opening. However, I do believe that for most women looks rank higher…not buying how low it appears on the list! A woman may desire all the things on the list higher than looks but if a potential mate does not have a certain level of attractiveness, I doubt the woman would give him the chance to prove all his his other qualities!


  4. I’m not at all surprised that men rank looks so high… as physiologically, they should. They’re programmed for it with so much testosterone, and their affinity for visual stimulation. I on the other hand have a lot of testosterone for a woman… so looks rank pretty high for me too!! ROFL… then again intelligence and humor do too. Great post lady!


  5. Values not being in the Top 3 on either side is concerning! LOL! Someone can be good-looking and smart, but if they’re not kind and have values, then I want no part of them.


  6. I am always skeptical of those kinds of surveys. Sometimes people like things they don’t even want to admit to themselves. If the list was totally accurate then how would so many “bad boys”, rock stars, wealthy guys and jerks always seem to have some of the best looking women…


    • Totally agree with you. Saying something and actually going for something are two totally different things.

      For instance, I have been told by all of my friends, as well as people that I see daily (store clerks, servers,) that I am the funniest guy ever and it is the best humor they have ever heard. I totally agree with all of them. However, I still crash and burn at dating. Likewise with many friends I have whose humor I find hilarious but no skill in being attractive.

      Humor being the number one deisred trait is a very common misconception.


      • Thanks for the comment … but it’s the TYPE of humor that’s important. You might be humorous but what else do you have to offer? No one wants a comedian for a partner. It’s about balance.


        • I agree with your comment about the “type” of humor being important. I think the more important quality is fun, rather than just funny


      • The rock star scenario may not be real relationships, but I don’t think it can be denied that quality women dating “bad boys” is not uncommon. I have my theories as to why this is true.


  7. In my experience women SAY these things but do something quite different. They have their checklist of items, but that isn’t what they do in reality, so many of them end up with the “dangerous” bad boy that they claim they don’t want, but they find this person exciting, and then the relationship fails and they continue to claim they want the things on this list, but they never actually pursue them. I’d rather see a survey that analyzed the attributes of the men and women in successful relationships.


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