3 Theories For How We're Initially Attracted To A Potential Partner by Haydee Montemayor from Love and Treasure blog you can find at www.loveandtreasure.com

3 Theories For How We’re Initially Attracted To A Potential Partner

Love Seems To Be A Mystery

We all know that millions of questions come up when it comes to love.

  • Does he like me?
  • Why am I attracted to her?
  • Why do I always pick the same type of guy?
  • Is she someone who I could potentially spend forever with?
  • Does he love me?
  • Does he love me not?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Science Behind Love

It’s exciting to know that there are scientists interested in researching romantic love.

In recent years, they’ve come up with three theories regarding romantic love. Let’s explore what those are.

The First Love Theory

The first theory is the “bio-logical” theory that states that people choose a mate for evolutionary purposes and for the survival of their species.

What Makes A Woman A Good Catch According to the Bio-logical Theory

This theory states that men are attracted to women who are beautiful and in the peak of their childbearing years, which men can tell if it applies to a lady they’re interested in based on a woman’s:

  • clear skin,
  • shiny hair,
  • shiny eyes,
  • rosy cheeks,
  • red lips and
  • good bone structure.

Aside from indicating high fertility, these physical characteristics are also signs that a woman is healthy.

What Makes A Man A Good Catch According to the Bio-logical Theory

Surprisingly, looks, age, and even health don’t matter as much to women when they select a man because those things don’t affect a man’s ability to reproduce.

What women do look for is a man with alpha qualities, who is able to compete with other males and provide more than enough for their family.

That’s part of the reason why leaders and successful men are so attractive to women. I don’t know about you, but now, it’s easier to see why women find actors, male singers and even politicians attractive despite the fact that they might not be physically handsome.

Power, social status and the ability to gather food or money are attractive qualities in males. That’s why women often say that they want a man, and not a wimp. We need to know that men have our back emotionally, physically and financially.

The Bio-Logical Theory In a Nutshell

In a nutshell, while breeding ability is an attractive quality in females, support is an attractive quality in males.

While it may be simplistic to think that we select a partner this way according to this theory, and even a bit insulting that we’re analyzing what we can get out of a relationship versus what we can give, there is some truth to this theory.

How The Bio-Logical Theory Works

Think about it. During the first few dates, and even in the initial stages of getting to know a potential mate…. what are the questions that you actually ask or are asked?

  • What do you do for a living?
  • How many kids would you like to have?
  • Are you from a big family?
  • Where do you live?
  • Where are you from?

We don’t usually ask what car do you drive because maybe our date picked us up, we may already know, but we tend to notice those things.

And we can’t deny that we notice what our date is wearing and how it looks on them.

Plus, let’s admit it, even the activity you’re doing on a date and the date location itself are a HUGE indication to women about how much a potential suitor can provide for us. Not that we’re materially-focused, or anything, but if someone takes you to McDonald’s on a first date, it’s not going to be the same as if someone takes you to a nice restaurant in town. It doesn’t mean that women will never be open to getting an inexpensive and quick bite to eat with someone… but quick and inexpensive isn’t all that appealing on a first date. Dates showcase what a man can provide for us.

For the most part, although there are exceptions of course, women focus on being feminine and guys focus on showing off their masculine side.


The Second Love Theory

The second theory, which was developed by social psychologists, is called the “exchange” theory for mate selection.

It contends that we look for mates who are essentially our equals. According to this theory, what we’re seeking is to ensure that there is an “even exchange” in what we are able to offer and what we are able to receive.

But this time, instead of zeroing in and sizing people up based on just their physical attractiveness, youth, social status and financial status, we also notice internal characteristics such as creativity, sense of humor and kindness.

How The Exchange Theory Works In Real Life

When we meet someone, we automatically and subconsciously “scan” them to see if our “score” and their “score” is more or less equal. But hey, if our score is lower, and their score is a little higher, we’re still okay. As long as we’re not  being “short-changed” we can potentially be interested in this person.

But in this case, we’re not judging them based on how they rank in beauty, status or financially, we’re seeing them as a whole person. For example, someone with a low-status job, or not as young may still be a good match for us if we’re drawn to their other positive qualities such as how personable they are, how intelligent and how thoughtful they are.

An Interesting Observation

Although not part of the research, it’s interesting to note that most men say “she’s out of my league” more often than women say “he’s outside of my league.” Women usually say, “I’m not his type…” which is true and less harsh on the female self-esteem. Could it be because women usually have “higher scores” than the men? I don’t know for sure, but it’s very likely. 😉 After all, many women are looking for their prince charming because deep down they believe they’re worthy of him. 😉

The Third Love Theory

The third theory is the persona theory. It is based on the premise that a potential partner may either enhance or be detrimental to our self esteem. Ouch, right?

It states that we all have a mask or a persona that we we use to project our social image to the outer world.

What we want, is a partner who will enhance our persona, otherwise known as our self-image. Just like we want people to think highly of us in general, we also want people to think highly of us based on the person we’re with.

According to this theory, we are asking ourself, “How will I feel about myself if I’m seen with this person?”

If  the thoughts and feelings that we get when we answer this question for ourselves are positive, we are more prone to seeing where the relationship with this person can take us.

On the other hand, if our response to this question makes us realize that our image would be negatively affected, we’re less likely to become involved with that person.

No Matter What We Say, We Do Care About What People Think

This comes to show, that ultimately, we do care about what people think about us.

We are either proud to be seen with someone, or we are embarrassed. Even if we’re embarrassed it may not necessarily be because the person is awfully worthless, but simply because we may realize that that potential person doesn’t truly fit into the life that we’ve imagined for ourselves.

Summary Of The 3 Theories For How We’re Initially Attracted To A Potential Partner

In all three theories, we can see that we are looking out after ourselves and our own interests much more than we’re likely to admit.

All three theories indicate that we do ask ourselves “what’s in it for me?”

I know that seeing love this way, under the microscope, takes a lot of the romanticism away, but one way of looking at these theories in general and our psychology specifically is that we’re being smarter than we think when it comes to choosing our mate. (Some of us more than others, of course. Plus, there are other factors that come into play more clearly as we choose a mate, but we’ll talk about those in the next post).

Let’s Put Love Into Action

Many of us don’t take the time to know ourselves well. And that leads to living between a dream and a nightmare, not fully having our ideal life, but often wondering what choices we’ve made that have led us to our worst mistakes in life.

And while life’s lessons are both a good thing because they teach us, and a not so good thing because they challenge us to the core, by stopping and asking ourselves

  • tough
  • inspiring
  • unique
  • never-thought-of -it-before
  • and Oh-no-you-didn’t-just-ask-that

… questions, we can get to know ourselves a little more.

So Let’s DO IT! Let’s Get Personal.

In this Love and Treasure this Moment of Introspection- The Three Love Theories PDF you will have the opportunity to come clean and tell YOURSELF the truth about what made you be as attracted as you were to your previous love partners (that actually were your partner, or that you were dying that they were).

This should be fun! 😉

Now It’s Your Turn

I could ask you to give me all the juicy details about whether you were most interested in your partners based on the bio-logical theory, the even exchange theory or the persona theory… buuuuut I won’t.

Instead, let me simply ask you to share:

  • What surprising conclusions did you come up with as you were reading and doing the Love and Treasure This Moment of Instrospection activity on this post?

TRULY can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

(Oh, and if you really want to share personal information in private with me, you can always use the contact form on this site to reach out to me).

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