Wanting to love someone and be in a happy relationship is something that most people look for in their love. After all, a stable relationship can bring about a lot of positive change in your life.
But, sometimes finding the right partner can be quite a challenge, isn’t it? If you are someone, who is on a quest to find the right partner for yourself, then you will have to consider a few important things.
The Best Way to Find a Partner Who’s Right for You
Hint: It’s not by seeking the best person.
“I love you not only for what you are but for what I am when I am with you.” —Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Love thy neighbor—and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.” —Mae West
People sometimes think that by finding the perfect person, they will find their perfect partner. They are wrong. In my new book, The Arc of Love: How Our Romantic Lives Change over Time (2019), I argue that suitability, not perfection, is the name of the romantic game. Interestingly, two imperfect people can form a perfect romantic relationship.
The suitability and nonrelational scales
“When I love, I do it without counting. I give myself entirely. And each time, it is the grand love of my life.” —Brigitte Bardot
There are two scales with which to assess romantic value: the nonrelational scale (which is a general measure of people) and the relational scale of suitability (which measures a unique connection). The nonrelational scale measures the value of traits as they stand on their own (think a sense of humor, wealth, etc.). This sort of measure has two advantages: It is easy to use, and most people would agree about the assessments.
The suitability scale is much more complex since it depends on personal and environmental factors about which we do not have full knowledge. Let’s think for a moment about assessing the relational suitability value in long-term relationships. Should you marry a smart person? Generally speaking, intelligence is considered good—but here is where things get more complicated. If there is a big gap between the IQ of the two partners, their suitability value will be low, as matching in nonrelational value is more significant here. This goes way beyond intelligence, though.
“It’s so easy to fall in love but hard to find someone who will catch you.”
The same goes for wealth. On the nonrelational scale, a lot of money is often good, but a wealthy person might score low on fidelity, as fat bank accounts open many romantic doors. Moreover, wealthy people tend to believe that they are more deserving, and hence their caring behavior might be lower.
In the same vein, having a good sexual appetite is usually good, but a large discrepancy between the partners’ sexual needs is not conducive to that crucial romantic connection. If, for instance, a man wants to have sex once or twice a week and a woman wishes to have sex multiple times a day, would they be suitable partners?
If all the positives on someone’s nonrelational scale are reduced by aspects on the relational scale, this is likely to bode ill for the individual’s personal flourishing. Even if both partners score high on the nonrelational scale but they are not able to bring out the best in each other, then their value on the relational scale will below.
Predicting romantic value
“To keep a marriage, the husband should have a night out with the boys and the wife should have a night out with the boys, too.” —Zsa Zsa Gabor
As it turns out, we can tell precious little about how someone will be as a partner by knowing how he or she rates as a person. It is far from obvious that the higher your partner is on the nonrelational scale, the better the connection between you will be.