Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor.
A big part of dating is attracting a partner. Once you've done that, however, another major task is figuring out whether you should keep them. This process is sometimes known as "testing," "screening," or "qualifying" a date. Essentially, it is the "interview process" of dating.
Most people have some sort of rough outline of what they are looking for in a partner. Some even have a detailed "list" of traits, abilities, and characteristics. These usually include various physical attributes, intelligence levels, and personality quirks. Most of these are deemed important to the individual doing the qualifying. But are they really important to the success of a relationship over time?
The fact of the matter is that your "list" might be missing a few important items. In fact, you might be wasting your time with some of the things you're looking for in a partner—and missing the real variables that really count. Fortunately, that's why we do research...
Research on Individual Characteristics and Relationship Quality
To find important qualities to consider in a dating partner, you need to look no further than the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The issue has no less than four articles on the impact of partners' self-control and conscientiousness on relationship quality. Here are brief points from each:
What This Means for You
These studies all point to one common idea: Regardless of how much someone "loves" you, they may very well make mistakes if they don't have enough self-control. This is a bit counterintuitive, as many people look for love in a potential partner as the "fix" which assures a partner's faithfulness, trustworthiness, and motivation to keep the relationship going. This doesn't appear to be the case, however: Love is not enough.
If you really want to find a good relationship partner—someone who won't drive you crazy, mess up all the time, or cheat—then you should look at their "ability" (e.g. self-control), rather than their emotions (e.g. love).
So, what types of things should you look for to assess self-control and conscientiousness? Here are a few:
When deciding to "keep" a dating partner around, love just isn't enough to build a workable relationship. Neither are the physical attributes or mental qualities on your usual dating interview list. Your date needs to have the ability to be a good partner. That ability comes from good self-control and conscientiousness. Look for those characteristics, and you will find yourself a true partner.
Go to www.AttractionDoctor.com for more dating and relationship advice (in helpful categories).
Until next time...happy dating and relating!
Previous Articles from The Attraction Doctor
© 2011 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.