Rita Watson MPH

With Love and Gratitude

Looking for Mr. Right? 16 Questions to Consider

Research gives us a look at matters of the heart and oxytocin plays a key role.

Posted Apr 30, 2015

Robert Indiana, Yale Digital Commons
Source: Robert Indiana, Yale Digital Commons

In a world which seems to be dominated by love and social media matchmaking, it is interesting to take a look at the literature in which love relationships are analyzed. Studies give us a science-based glimpse at matters of the heart.  Despite the research, when it comes to love, at times there may be no rhyme or reason.  

And sometimes, just when you thought you have found love, you find yourself with No Date on New Year's Eve or on Valentine's Day.

Yet, Stephanie Ortigue, Ph.D., Syracuse University and the University of Geneva, reporting on “The Neuroimaging of Love,” found that certain brain chemicals are released that produce a euphoria-like state, involving dopamine and oxytocin receptors. These may account for the “love at first sight” phenomenon.

Oxytocin plays a major role in both love making and bonding.  From the University of Bonn, Nadine Striepens, MD, and David Steele, Ph.D., tell us that:

“In humans, interpersonal romantic attraction and the subsequent development of monogamous pair-bonds is substantially predicted by influential impressions formed during first encounters. The prosocial neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) has been identified as a key facilitator of both interpersonal attraction and the formation of parental attachment.”

Essentially oxytocin plays a role in first attachments from love couples to mothers and infants. But from this research you will see that this "Love and trust hormone can be deceptive."

What does this mean in terms of making choices?  Many researchers, such as Langlois et al, have found that looks are important. Attractiveness may be a key factor in the dating and mating process, particularly for men. David Buss, Ph.D., evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas, and colleagues, found that:

“Women expressed a greater preference than men for a wide array of socially desirable personality traits. Individuals differed in which characteristics they desired, preferring mates who were similar to themselves and actually obtaining mates who embodied what they desired.” 

Call it chemistry, or a spark, at one time or another we have all experienced that tingling feeling of looking across a room and connecting with someone special.

If you are looking for Mr. Wonderful, consider starting a journal that helps you think in terms of specifics.  Give yourself several months to really consider what is important to you and begin writing these down as you create your own “Book of Love.”  These 16 questions may trigger many more questions which you should answer, such as family relationships, fitness, smoking, drinking, and how he lives.

Here are 16 questions 

1.       What is the personality profile of your ideal companion – do you like the quiet type or the life of the party?

2.      How important are looks to you?  If you are thinking marriage, looks may be important if you want beautiful children.

3.     Are you thinking companionship or marriage?

4.     If you are thinking marriage, do you want children or would you be happy in a “Dual Income No Kids” situation?

5.   Are profession and income important to you? 

6.   Would you prefer a never married man to a divorced man or widower?

7.  Would you consider being with a man who is retired?

8.  What leisure activities would you like to share with him?

9.  Do you enjoy spontaneity and if so, would you seek that in a partner?

10. Would you consider a long-distance relationship?

11. Are you an incurable romantic and therefore looking for a man who meets your romantic expectations -- great hugs, good kisses, love texts, or flowers?

12. What values do you wish the two of you might share?

13. What qualities in yourself do you wish he would recognize and value?

14. Are you willing to take the time to meet his friends, co-workers, and family?

15. Are you willing to walk an extra mile to find Mr. Right through joining a dating service, becoming involved in volunteer work, joining a religious or educational organization, taking  out-of-character courses where you might meet someone special?

16. Take a look at your outer and inner self. Are you ready for a relationship or do you still have issues to resolve? If you are angry or bitter about the past, let it go. Express gratitude to those who have been a part of your life -- and wish them well -- believing that even a difficult romantic relationship was a learning experience preparing you to move forward.

The value of writing out your answers and rewriting your love story

Writing your answers may give you some insight as to what you really want in your own love story. Have a look at "7 Days to Your Heart’s Desire." After determining the qualities of the man you would like to be Mr.Right, put him into a dream setting. See how the two of you might interact.

Once you actually write the qualities that are important to you, review the stories of your first love, and/or other loves, spouses. Are you describing a man who is familiar to you, yet someone who might once again disappoint you? If so, it is time to change the script.

If you are still stuck in the past, rewrite your love story from a different perspective. We always remember a story a little differently than the way it originally happened. See this new love story in a way that empowers you.  And seek out the companionship of a man who will appreciate the new you.

References

Botwin, M.D., Buss, D.M., Shackleford, T.K. (1997) Personality and mate preferences: five factors in mate selection and marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality 65, 107-136

Langlois, J.H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A.J., Larson, A., Hallam, M., Smoot, M. (2000) Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin 126, 390-423

Ortigue, S., Bianchi-Demicheli, F.,  et al. (2010) Neuroimaging of Love: fMRI Meta-Analysis Evidence toward New Perspectives in Sexual Medicine, The Journal of Sexual Medicine DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01999.x

Scheele, D., Striepens, N., et al, (2012) Oxytocin Modulates Social Distance between Males and Females J Neurosci. 2012 Nov 14;32(46):16074-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2755-12.2012.

Copyright  2015 Rita Watson