How to Develop Attraction For The Right Kind of Partner

How to Develop Attraction For The Right Kind of Partner

As you probably know, I’m not a psychologist, therapist, MSW, clinical researcher, scientist or PhD. I’m a highly verbal, analytical, flirtatious former screenwriter and early adopter of online dating who parlayed his vast experience as a nice Jewish boy/male slut into a highly unlikely career.

10 years into this gig, I’d like to think I’ve gone from self-proclaimed authority into actual authority – simply by listening to women, thousands of hours of coaching, and seven years of blogging. Despite all of this, I’ll admit, I can be thin-skinned and take special pleasure when my opinions – formed entirely from my own observations – are validated by other authorities.

Which brings me today’s post, which I wish I had written myself. Written by Ken Page, L.C.S.W. (more letters I don’t have after my name), the article, on Psychology Today, asserts that, when assessing your attraction on a 1-10 scale:

“People who are willing to date in the mid-range are more likely to find real and lasting love. It’s not a matter of selling out, because immediate attraction isn’t the best forecaster of future passion. Intense attractions blind us to the actual quality of our interaction with others, and to the actual characters of the people we date. Attractions can grow.”

Attraction, while necessary, is not the most important quality in a marriage.

Page, like your friendly neighborhood dating coach, is not telling you to go out with someone you’re not at all attracted to. If anything, he cautions against the blindness and insecurity of dating someone on the 10 attraction scale and encourages you to take the time to cultivate a greater attraction when there’s an initial spark, even if it’s not overwhelming. He acknowledges why it’s difficult to do so.

“In such cases, it can be difficult to stay; to resist fleeing in search of something more clear-cut. As a result, many potentially wonderful relationships get cut off before ever being given a chance. The truth is that we can deepen our healthy attractions, and we can intensify the passion in those attractions.”

Readers in healthy long-term relationships – how attracted were you to your partner at first glance? For me, it was probably about a 7. Higher than some girlfriends, lower than others. But the relationship itself – the thing we have together – is a 10++, which is why I feel so strongly that attraction, while necessary, is not the most important quality in a marriage.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.

Psychology Today Article

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  1. 1

    I have definitely tried this.   I just stopped dating a guy, because of his own insecurities about me.   We went out–and I thought had a nice time.   I was always on time shared often in the payment of the date.   Took time to meet is kid as he asked.   He always complimented me on my hair and how put together I was.   I am considered very attractive or so I am told–I really don’t focus on it.   I do not consider my self high maintenance it takes me about 45′ from shower to out the door–because I usually have to iron my clothes/take care of my dog.   The reason I give these details is because he had given me his blog/twitter address and told me I should check it out.   Well   we had been seeing each other for little over a month and I checked it out.   On it he made a comment that I must work really hard on my hair, but he was not going to hassle me about it.   He then went on to say how he had a real thing for women with short hair–I have long hair.   I was extremely hurt and felt how dare he.   Who is he to hassle me about my hair as it has no impact on him.  I am left with a total blindsided feeling as to why he would say something like that–I always thought people put a comb through their hair before they went out on a date.

    1. 1.1

      Wow. I don’t care if this guy is a 1 or a 10 on the looks scale, he’s barely above zero on personality. Either totally socially clueless, or passive-aggressive (“hey, I’m too chicken to tell you that I think you spend too much time on your hair, so why don’t you go read it on my blog.”) Sheesh!! Sorry you had to put up with his antics. Also, why did he introduce his kid to you after only a month? Red flags everywhere.

      1. 1.1.1

        Goldie–you are absolutely correct.   I actually avoided meeting his kid for the first 5 weeks, but then said ok.   Anyway–no matter on to better stuff.   Thanks for your opinion–it reflects my own.   I question my reactions sometimes due to a messy marriage/divorce.

  2. 2

    Ah the issue most of us have to face whilst touring on the dating circuit: whether to stick with a 7, or play the odds and hold out for an 8, 9 or even a 10, all the while knowing that time is ticking (funny how ‘7’ seems to be the cut-off number for all of us no matter what our own number is).
    The problem is once we get a taste of what it feels like to be with an 8 — no matter how brief — it becomes very difficult to then be satisfied with “settling” for a 7. That “feeling” — the validation, the achievement, the satiation — is so hard to fulfil with ‘just’ a 7.
    This is one of the unforeseen consequences of the hook-up culture: at some point most participants manage to date/hook-up briefly with that “perfect person” who unfortunately didn’t reciprocate our feelings. In retrospect most of us realize that the person we constantly think of was just an illusion in our heads anyway. Sometimes I wonder whether ‘tis better to have loved and lost an 8, than never to have loved an 8 at all.
    Having been in the dating game for a decade now another interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed is that my perception of what a ‘7’ actually is changes. When I look back at photographs of 7s I dated a few years ago I now rate them as 6s. Therefore I will probably never actually reach an 8, as once I do I will then be aiming for a 9 and so on.
    I suppose it’s a just a function of the (Western?) human condition — always striving for more, for higher, for better, for hotter. Hmmm — I suppose it’s just something all of us will have to deal with.

    1. 2.1

      It’s inflation.

    2. 2.2

      It would be incredibly   insightful and assist in cultivating an   increase in a sense of self awareness for individuals involved in the mental games of   dating .   If we submitted photos, along w dating, professional, social and familial status and quite possibly financials To non bias experts,  quite possibly once a number has been assigned by the non-bias Number Evaluators /Number Value Assignees, we would be more realistic in our hope to find a near perfect match. If u have a solid nine spot friend and I’ve been told by an “expert” I too am a nine we could be a great Match. Likewise if I have my eye on a nine but I am only a seven I would be cognisent of my number and more realistic as to the actual chance I might have at inquiring about and potentially dateing that individual. Could be insightfull. I’m up to be a guinea pig!!!!!

  3. 3

    I feel really lucky.   My first-ever boyfriend was, at least in my books, a 9.   But after lusting for him from afar from months before we got together, I saw that after we started dating, it was in fact his humour and intelligence that kept me attracted.   That was a powerful lesson to learn while still in college.   After we broke up, I gave guys who were less initially attractive a shot IF they had humour and intelligence and guess what?   I found that even THOSE sexy qualities paled in comparison to kindness and warmth.      
    A guy I dated a few years ago had initially intrigued me with his articulate and sweet emails.   When we met in person, I’d put my attraction to him   at a 4 or 5.    But I kept in mind the lessons I’d learned in past relationships and decided to give him 2 more dates.   (I would not have gone past date 3 if I’d continued to find him physically unappealing ~ I’d have considered that “stringing him along” ~ but I knew myself well enough to realise that my initial impressions weren’t set in stone).   On date 2 he wowed me with his manners, intelligence and knowledge of art.   And on date 3, we kissed and there were fireworks.     We dated for more than 6 months before he decided he moved across country for family reasons and we broke up as a result but gosh, it was a good relationship and my attraction to him had become an 8 or 9 by then.  
    I’m not suggesting that this will happen for everyone or that I will always fall for guys whom I initially find repellant.     But, I’m really glad that I have learned that, for me, initial attraction rarely correlate with successful outcomes.

    1. 3.1

      Love this!

      It’s almost as if we have our own growth and evolution to go through within ourselves to learn what matters most to us and discover  the range of things that we can feel attracted to. Society tends to feed us a load of crap about what “attractive” means. Don’t get me wrong, we are all slaves to our biology to some extent and to say nothing happens chemically within us when a Thor lookalike strides by would be naive. But it’s amazing who and what we can become attracted to if we just open our minds to qualities outside of the traditional list of what’s considered attractive.

      For me personally, more unconventional attractive qualities – like warmth, kindness, openness, curiosity, zest for life, desire to improve oneself constantly, well-developed communication, healthy  boundaries, emotional stability, emotional depth, internal confidence, etc. – have been able to take me  to attraction levels way beyond the conventional qualities ever did, and  have had me hooked in inexplicable ways!

    2. 3.2
      Colette Doyle

      Thank you for this interesting anecdote – I found it particularly apt as I am in a similar situation. I think I would add that looks become less important as we grow older.

  4. 4

    I met a 10 and was completely head over heels for him.   He kept me  on a string seeing me occasionally for nearly a year before I finally let him go.   After several months of meeting the 10, I met a 7.   We started dating off and on at  first, then  quite regularly.   But if the 10 wanted to see me, I was available.   If the 10 had paid more attention to me, I would have dropped the 7 in a heartbeat.   Once I finally realized what was going on, it was too late.   I let the 7 go and he found someone else, not that I can blame him.   I realize now what a mistake I had made.   I could have had a darn good life with the 7.   I was too hung up on the 10, and it took me  a long time to get over him.   I never really gave the 7 a chance, and I regret that.   Today, I would say that I agree with the article.   Take a second look at a 7.   They’re more reliable and aren’t stuck on the fact every woman wants them, so they commit to no one.

    1. 4.1

      Donna, were you really hung up on the 10, or did you feel that because you could “land” a 10, then you were high value yourself and should seek out partners of similar value ?

      1. 4.1.1

        Very good point! I think most people tend to rate themselves higher in terms of attractiveness than they actually are. No one wants to believe that they’re only a 5 or 6, or even below that. Having a healthy self-image almost depends upon us lying to ourselves about how physically appealing we are. So when we see people who are a great catch, we think we somehow deserve them even though in reality, we might fall far short of such a person.

        1. Cathalei

          As the common saying goes, dating is not a meritocracy. It’s not about what you “deserve” or what your “ratings” are but your communication skills and qualities.The so called division between 10s and 7s are as arbitrary as it can get. I don’t care what others think as long as I am convinced that they are a 10 to me as that’s all what matters. If you easily click that comes automatically.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Cathalei, I don’t believe it’s a common saying. It’s just something that I’ve been saying commonly for years. 🙂

  5. 5

    For the life of me, I’ll never be able to pin point what guides my personal attraction scale.   (Pheromones perhaps)   I’ve met guys who probably would only garner a 6 or 7 on   the looks scale, but I have felt WILDLY attracted to them (my personal 10)   I just felt a 9.9 level of attraction for a short bald guy I met online.   When we SKYPED, I was rather myeh about it, but a chance meeting at a meet up, I went from “myeh” to “WOW”.  
    I’ve also met guys who were very good looking, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel much attraction for them.   Go figure.

  6. 6
    Dina Strange

    If physical attraction wasn’t an issue, i’d be married to a very nice guy long time ago. Yes he would probably be short or overweight or somewhat not good looking. But here is the problem – if there is no attraction, there is nothing you can do. He can be the most amazing guy in the world but if there is no attraction it just doesn’t work.

    1. 6.1

      Frankly, if a guy is good to me, listens, cares for, and all that… attractiveness to him suddenly goes wayyyy up. I admit attraction to a 6 is way more workable though….  

  7. 7

    I don’t think most girls are overly emphasizing looks. But we’d like to   find someone special — just a really cool person who you gel with. Also, if I lift weights and eat organic and dress well, I am well within my rights to hold out for someone who takes similar care of the physical.  

    1. 7.1

      I totally agree with the statement that if you work out and are very fit, that you should want someone who brings the same thing to the table. The funny part about this comment, is that if a guy says that, he is flamed. When a girl says that, it goes uncontested.

      1. 7.1.1

        I have no issue with either men or women wanting someone fit and slim.   And I’m not criticising your non-negotiables; I’ve no doubt got a few of my own that are getting in the way of finding true love.   But as Evan always points out, it’s good for all of us to remember that the more “must-haves” you put on your list, the smaller your pool of potential candidates and the more of a chance we have of missing out on   someone who holds the most important values for a successful marriage: kindness, good values and supportiveness.    
        Also…I wonder if someone with a great personality but who is slightly out of shape can get relatively fit without too much struggle but if it’s harder for someone with a lousy character but a lovely body to develop a winning personality.  

      2. 7.1.2

        It’s easy to claim that people on both sides aren’t hypocrites, but it’s also true that not everyone wants their clones.     
        I mean, based on what you are saying, I should hold out for a multi-degree holding, six figure earning, Ivy League grad.   But just b/c I have those things doesn’t mean I “deserve” them and it doesn’t mean that is all I’m attracted to.   I have all of my hair, should I say no “baldies.”   I’m average height, does that mean it’s only natural I don’t want “short” guys since a guy shorter than me is pretty tiny?   
        You probabaly would take issue with all of those things and I also know that many of them are very rare and means I’d be looking at a small subset of highly desired men (based on superficial traits only).  
        I feel like this discussion is really juvenile since it seems to only focus on the scale of looks and not personality, which actually matters.   Since I’m not in high school looking for a prom or homecoming date, I don’t need to find the star of the football team.    None of my friends care if I find their husband attractive, and I feel the same.   I have friends married to short guys, chubby guys, balding guys, but the thing they have in common is that they are really nice to them and demonstrated that they’d be the best partners.
        I feel as if most people on this blog are middle aged and yet still hold on to this idea that they must have the head cheerleader/star of the football team which honestly, post 40 or 45 isn’t going to look any different than the head of the debate team.   
        I’ve learned myself that the only way to know how valuable I am to other people is on a person by person basis.   So some “hot” guys find me “hot” and some average guys find me “hot” and some ugly guys find me “hot.”   
        I think the only thing I’ve learned is to keep an open mind no matter what someone looks like on the outside.   
        Since “hot” fades pretty fast relative to character, it’s a poor basis for a long term relationship or marriage.

        1. Chance

          Nicole, this post is a breath of fresh air.   Agree on all points.

        2. Adriane

          Hallelujah – you went there! The vacuous thread finally got hobbled. I was losing hope and realizing why I balk at the whole dating thing. I was married for 16 years, been single for 5 and dated for the first two of those years. It’s a different animal than it was pre-marriage (in my twenties) and find that I have far different criteria in what I find appealing in a man than I used to. Looks and attractivenesss (and I suppose what we find charming as well) are subjective but a meshing of intellect, values and character account for much in the way of a possible match. I don’t think I’ve ever rated anyone with a number and find it oddly offensive.

        3. Lily

          I love your post, Nicole. I have been dating for a year and a half since my last relationship ended. I am 55, fit and thin and look good enough in my online photos  that a former Calvin Klein model who was on billboards in the early 80s wanted to date me. (He, by the way, has a body that looks pretty much exactly the same when he was baring his chest for those ads.)   I didn’t date him for various reasons, but he did look amazing!

          I can understand rating a person based on looks alone, but that is just one small part for me.   People of depth value people of depth and want much more than looks.   In fact, if I were to make a spreadsheet of what attracts and keeps me, it would have a lot of lines on it:

          Looks (do I want to see him with his clothes off?)

          Car (can he get to where he is going in a reliable manner)

          Job (He doesn’t have to be rich, but can he take care of his own needs?)

          Is he highly attracted to me?   (It doesn’t matter if I think he is a 10 if I am not a high priority in his life.) What he thinks of me has to be a factor in how I attracted I am to him.

          Kids (Are his children independent, polite, respectful, and self-sufficient, or on the way to being self-sufficient? Would I enjoy sitting across the dinner table with his children?)

          Can he approach conflict in a way that the Gottmans predict will lead to a future without divorce? (I am not stuck on marriage, but I do want to find someone to love for the rest of my life.)

          Does he own his own home and have a retirement plan? I would prefer that, because that makes him my peer. I have planned for my future, and I want to be with someone who has done that as well. I have delayed gratification and do not make impulse purchases so that I will have long-term security. I am not rich, but I should be able to live out my life in comfort.

          Is he kind and loving and appreciative and affectionate and very sexual? Is his primary “love language” the same as mine? (physical touch)

          Is he smart and articulate? Will he understand the words that I use? We need to be able to understand each other easily and effortlessly and get each other’s jokes.

          Is he educated? Does he see the world in a reasonably tolerant manner? Can he discuss issues and people with an open mind and without a negative, judgmental approach? Is he respectful of others, whether or not they agree with him?

          Does he take care of his body in order to be healthy? Will he go to therapy to keep a relationship healthy? Is he reasonably emotionally astute?

          Those are some of the aspects of a man that are important to me.   If I lined those up on the left side of a spreadsheet, and then rated him from one to ten for each quality, that is how I would determine his score on a scale of 1 to 10.

  8. 8

    If you had told me 12 months ago that right now, in the month of January 2014 I would be planning my wedding, I would have smiled and told you that it was highly improbable. I had never even looked at an online marriage site let alone registered. But then I did, and now I am about to marry a man who is just right for me.
    Part of the reason for that is that I found myself a superb therapist and I read everything I could about online dating, relationships and men. Evan’s site and these comments were a big part of that. I was a real ‘looks’ girl; when I say looks I mean beautiful men.  For whatever reason I thought it really mattered.  
    Anyway, I redecorated my house, focused on writing. I brought the aesthetic into my life this way and I considered the lessons of others on this and other pages  deeply  and honestly.
    The more I explored all of this, the more I became interested in fully authentic people. By that I mean when a man’s character shines from his eyes or a woman’s values are in the things she likes to talk about.  
    The chemistry part as far as I’m concerned is about how I feel in the presence of another person. When I asked myself the question why I was so hung up on beauty and was ready to hear the answer it made me cry.
    Beauty for me has become something that comes from the creative drive within, the things we can make. For me, this year, it is planning a wedding which reflects all of my feelings; of love, of relief.  

    1. 8.1

      Beautifully written. Thank you!

  9. 9

    I think women give much less importance to looks than men when evaluating a partner. I think (I know, I know, you don’t agree) that for women looks are 90% of the overal grade they are given, but for men it forms no more than  50%.   Even with this disclaimer, when you meet someone stunning physically, male of female, it makes a huge impression, and if they also have good personality, that’s a real winner.
    My husband was an 8 in looks when I met him, he was a semi-professional athlete and had the body of a greek god, beatiful blond hair, amazing tan, and one blue and one green eye. I would have said he was a 10, except for the fact that he is only as tall as I am (5.10), which, in my book of attraction, is “short”.   I had disqualified him due to shortness at first sight, but after working together with him for about a month and seeing his personality, intelligence, sense of humor, kindness (all of which I rated in the 8-10 range), I had such a huge crush on him, that my knees felt weak every time he walked in the room.
    With age, physically  he has gone down to a 7/6, mostly because he put on quite a lot of weight during our pregancies (you may laught, but this is actually what he attributes it to!) and failed to lose it afterwards. He still looks ok, but is so different from his original god-like shape, that our daughter fails to recognize him in old photos.   In terms of personality, I am also less excited by him now, than I was at the time. The good qualities I saw at the time, I take for granted (mea culpa) and the bad ones have grown worse and really irritate me. Overall, I consider myself lucky to have started very high on the attaction scale, because, it seems to me, living together and the challenges of marriage (trust me that those exist)  diminishes attraction.   

    1. 9.1

      Well-written.   I always say that familiarity breeds contempt.   Living with someone and slogging through the day-day-grind will diminish romance and attraction faster than anything.   Which is why I agree that it is preferable to start out with a high level of attraction.   Besides commitment, there has to be something to make you want to hang in there through the bad times, which occur in every life and relationship.

    2. 9.2
      karen o

      Honestly, I think this is a reason why so many married men complain that their wives dont want sex as much anymore after they’ve been married for a bit… or even from the beginning, that their wife doesnt want sex as much. Basically, women are taught that they should choose a mate based on practical criteria and also based on how well he treats her. That is not wrong at all….of course those things are extremely important. But in being told this, we are also told to ignore our physical desires. We are told our attraction is emotion-based and that it can grow. Men are rarely told such things or they simply don’t buy it. So I think lots of women settle for men they have little physical desire for but who seem like they would be good life partners. Then once the initial infatuation wears off, they find they are with someone they love as a family member, but for whom they have little to no sexual desire.

      I wish women’s sexuality was not marginalized so much…

  10. 10
    Ken Besig

    My wife and I have been married for 34 years and we have raised four really great sons, so I suppose that we have a long term relationship, and a very loving and happy one, now even more than when we were younger and just starting out.   I found my wife to be physically attractive, quite bright, happy, and Jewishly religious in a moderate sense, which appealed to me since my level of observance at that time was, well, Jewishly moderate.   We had a lot in common besides our faith, we were both from a middle class background, stable families, and one divorce apiece when we met.   We were both older, in our lower thirties, and we both really wanted to settle down and raise a family.   The community we lived in was Jewish and very religious, and to be perfectly honest, we were both living in Israel at the time, and we are still here.   My wife is   a very compassionate and understanding woman, and I can still make her laugh, and we have found that even with our sons grown and out of the house, we have many common interests and we enjoy each other’s company.   Thankfully we are financially well off, mostly due to the fact that I am 100% disabled by terminal cancer and I receive a substantial pension and subsidy from the Israeli Social Security system.   We have had our problems, every couple does, but we both entered this marriage with a deep and abiding sense of commitment so separation or divorce was never even a possibility no matter what our difficulties were.   Except for my illness, I have never been happier or more in love with my wife and kids, and I got started when my wife and I were thirty two. All the best and good luck to those who are looking for love later in life, it really can happen!

    1. 10.1

      This is inspiration.   I’m 32 and I’m patient . My parents got married in their 30’s too

  11. 11

    I had both the misfortune and the luck of having my first love (at 19) be an absolute, out-of-the-park 10 on the sizzle scale. As a teen, I was holding out for a lightning bolt, and boy, did it hit me. Eyes locked, still point of the turning world, “I just knew” — all of that. And he felt that for me. It was a mutual, overwhelming physical attraction that also had strong points of compatibility in terms of intellect, arts, politics, etc. And of course, lots of hormones.
    I thought I found the One, but I was too young to realize the importance of similar values and qualities like kindness, integrity, honesty, a good heart and spirit, etc…qualities that sadly didn’t come out in our time together. But it was hard to let go of that initial excitement of the 10, and I ended up staying in that relationship way too long — 10 years in fact, one of each point of attraction, I suppose, when I should have been giving other genuinely awesome men a real, fighting chance. So that’s why I don’t dispute the potent magic of a 10-level attraction…and I also see how very crazy-dangerous it can be in terms of blinding you to what really works best, and how hard it is to LET GO of that kind of attraction. But I just don’t think it’s viable for long-term relationships, mostly because sometimes I think that kind of blinding attraction is more about strange buttons being pushed, holes being filled, etc.
    Then I spent the next five years learning to value myself, as well as other qualities in men. Not to be cheesy (but yeah, a little cheesy!), I realized I didn’t want a relationship that felt like a crazy, boozy nightclub bacchanal that ended up with either tears or tearing off our clothes at the end of the night — I wanted one that felt like a warm, sunny summer morning. So I decided to find someone like that, and who wanted that, too.
    Anyway, when I met my partner, I think he was about a 7-8 for me in terms of attraction. Less lightning bolt, more like a warm genial fire you just wanted to be near. I was attracted and thought he was just so cute. There was a spark, but I wasn’t just crazy to jump into bed with him. (Though I did want to kiss him!) And that spaciousness bought me some time and discernment to realize he had those qualities I wanted: kindness, generosity, honesty, integrity, good-heartedness, a desire to contribute. Our relationship is definitely a 9-10. And interestingly enough, I find the attraction gets stronger. Sure, life gets in the way at times, but then I look at him and think, “Wow, I am so freaking lucky!”…and then I do get to tear his clothes off, just like it was a 10 🙂
    My opinion? You definitely need some kind of spark for a great long-term relationship…but you don’t need to start with a forest fire. 🙂

    1. 11.1

      Katharine – I love your comment and the whole process you went through. The experience you had with your 10 helps me understand someone else’s reactions/responses.   But, what I appreciate the most however, is how you say that you wanted to find someone who ‘felt like a warm summer morning’.   I love that – it totally resonates with me and I know that going forward that will be something I take into consideration when meeting new potentials.   And yes, to not needing a forest fire – like the old 70’s only takes a spark!   Thanks for sharing, it helped a lot for me.   Enjoy what sounds like a wonderful relationship!  

  12. 12
    Karl R

    Evan asked:  (original post)
    “Readers in healthy long-term relationships — how attracted were you to your partner at first glance?”
    It’s hard to remember. At the time, I was far more interested in dating the woman who introduced us. My wife was cute, but she was enough older than me that I really didn’t consider her as a possibility for a serious relationship until I’d gotten to know her much better.
    We were acquainted for at least 10 months before we started dating, and I dated at least 6 or 7 other women during that time, so it’s fairly obvious that I wasn’t infatuated at first sight.
    Tom10 said: (#2)
    “Ah the issue most of us have to face whilst touring on the dating circuit: whether to stick with a 7, or play the odds and hold out for an 8, 9 or even a 10, all the while knowing that time is ticking”
    Have you ever read about the Paradox of Choice? It sounds like you’re a maximizer (as opposed to being a satisficer). When making a choice, a maximizer will want to make the best possible choice, and will be worried that they will make (or have made) a choice that is less than the best. It takes them longer to make decisions, they’re more likely to second-guess their decisions, and they’re less likely to be satisfied with their decisions in the long run.
    Satisficers, on the other hand, tend to have a set of criteria when making a choice, and they tend to select the first option that meets all of those criteria. They make decisions faster, they’re more likely to stick with their choice, and they tend to be happier with their choice in the long run.
    This isn’t completely binary. It’s a spectrum where people are more one than the other. But when making a decision where there are potentially countless choices (getting a job, finding a spouse), it is extremely difficult for maximizers to make a decision, then be happy with it.
    Tom10 said:  (#2)
    “The problem is once we get a taste of what it feels like to be with an 8 — no matter how brief — it becomes very difficult to then be satisfied with ‘settling’ for a 7. That ‘feeling’ — the validation, the achievement, the satiation — is so hard to fulfil with ‘just’ a 7.”
    I dated a woman who was a 9. Cute face, great body, fit, 5 years younger than me, extremely intelligent (started college at 16), great job, well off, great sense of style, terrific sense of humor, good dancer.
    I would rate the relationship as a 3. This woman couldn’t manage her work/life balance at all. I always felt like dating was a low priority for her. She clearly liked me. She seemed to like the idea of dating me. But she never made time for anything relationship-oriented.
    I didn’t find a lousy relationship to be that satisfying. I didn’t find it particularly validating to date someone who took forever to respond to calls/emails. After several weeks, the main feeling I had was irritation.
    I easily decided that I wanted a higher quality relationship than that, and I was unwilling to settle for an inferior relationship, even if it was with the most amazing woman in the world.
    Kiki said: (#9)
    “The good qualities I saw at the time, I take for granted (mea culpa) and the bad ones have grown worse and really irritate me.”
    I have my own strategies for dealing with those two things. When it came to bad traits, I took a long time considering whether I could live with them for the rest of our lives without getting irritated about them. I expected that my wife would keep all of her bad trains, and they might get worse. Therefore, it’s completely up to me to not get irritated about them.
    As for avoiding taking her for granted, I try to make it a habit to compliment my wife and thank her for the normal things. It would be easy to take the morning cup of coffee for granted. (She’s made it every day for years.) But by taking the two seconds to say, “Thank you,” I can mentally remind myself that I do appreciate her daily effort.
    Hopefully these two strategies continue to work for the next few decades.

    1. 12.1

      “Have you ever about the Paradox of Choice?”
      Although I haven’t read the specific book I have read a review of the work, and so am familiar with the concept. I agree that it’s a fair representation of how many people operate in dating.
      “It sounds like you’re a maximizer (as opposed to being a satisficer)”
      Yes I came to the same conclusion — after reading a comment of yours some time ago in fact.
      “When making a choice, a maximizer will want to make the best possible choice”
      “It takes them longer to make decisions, they’re more likely to second-guess their decisions, and they’re less likely to be satisfied with their decisions in the long run”
      I have noticed this too, therefore, the way I managed to deal with it in life has been to set notional timelines by which time I will make a decision one way or another. Therefore I evaluate all my available options for X amount of predetermined time, and then live with that decision once made.
      “I dated a woman who was a 9
      After posting my comment I realized that I slightly misinterpreted the point of the thread. I use the number system as an objective descriptor of people, whereas the point here was to quantify the subjective level of attraction to one’s partner.
      For me 10 is perfection (i.e. doesn’t exist), 9 is supermodel/sports-star/movie-star standard, therefore 8 is the top of the “normal” person range.
      One thing I just can’t get my head around though is they way women here describe that a guy can go from a 4 to an 8 if he is funny/intelligent etc. In my head he is still a 4 — albeit a funny and intelligent 4.
      “I would rate the relationship as a 3…I didn’t find a lousy relationship to be that satisfying”
      Yes the mature person makes the decision to place more value on the quality of the relationship rather than on the intensity of attraction. That’s why Evan’s advice not to marry young is sound – it takes time to become mature.

    2. 12.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Karl R,

      you wrote: “Therefore, it’s completely up to me to not get irritated about them.”

      How do you do that? When a spouse does something which annoys you, I presume your immediate feeling is irritation – and I also presume you cannot alter an instinctual, sudden emotional state. So, is it that you feel the irritation, but distract yourself, or ignore the irritation, or feel it but decide not to say anything? Or something else?

      My husband does 2 things which drive me up the wall. Every say 20th time he does them, I just crack, and I start yelling, stomping around the house, yelling to myself and anyone within earshot about how bad they are. It seems I can hold my irritation in for 19 times, but then….

  13. 13

    Personally, I can’t remember the last time I experienced a “7” on the attraction scale.   I either experience a 2 or a 9-10.    I don’t know how I am supposed to “develop an attraction” for the right kind of man, if most men don’t make me feel anything.   Those that do, predictably, don’t work out.   And the nicer “2” is friend zoned pretty quickly because I don’t like the idea of them touching me.   I’m starting to think I will   never have even a tiny spark with a guy who might be compatible with me.   Oh well, I’ll keep dating!   Maybe this growing attraction over time phenomenon will work one day.

  14. 14

    I’ve been all over the place. Ex-husband: initial 10 – “I just knew” (it’s worth mentioning that I was 20 at the time), followed by a mostly horrible marriage. First serious relationship after divorce – inital 1-2 – he was very persistent, we clicked very well on a personal level, and in the end he grew on me. I gradually came to see him as a 6-7. But it took some work; and, when we meet now, I don’t get the 6-7 vibe anymore   – it wore off after we split up. My last bf was an initial 6-7 – we’d met online, and I remember seeing him in person for the first time and thinking “Whew, he’s not terribly scary-looking, I can live with that”. Over two years together, I gradually came to see him as an 8-9, but then he walked out; and, upon further reflection, I realized that he and I had never had that good of a connection. So I guess there’s no magic number that would guarantee you a happily ever after. You have to look at other factors too. Though I agree that, when you evaluate someone at 9 or 10 when you first meet them, it does tend to cloud your judgement and make you overlook their flaws.

  15. 15

    (from the blog post) “Attraction, while necessary, is not the most important quality in a marriage.”
    I heard something funny about the role of sex and marriage, it went something like this . . .”Sex is on 10% of a marriage, but if it’s not good, it will mess up the other 90% ”

  16. 16

    (Note, iPad posted prior post by accident. Technology…) I personally hate the numbers scale. I think that in many ways it kills someone’s confidence if they think they are “more attractive” than they “actually are”. At some point, you “know” what type of person is attracted to you and you to them. Therefore, you really need to be honest with yourself. As we live our lives, we pick up more baggage and therefore, dating is way more complicted now than it was for us since many of us have been engaged, married, divorced, have lived with some one etc. Our experiences are different since our feelings have been hurt and therefore, we do not love as purely as we did in our youth.
    So, attraction is so many things to so many people. I know I find certain men are attractive. Once they open their mouths, this can change quickly. I like some one with intelligence and educated opinions and humor. If you are gorgeous and cannot form a cohesive thought, I respectively pass. However, being brilliant isn’t enough either.   
    Since high school, I’ve always been referred to as “cute”. I am bubbly, fun and energetic. I am feisty and educated so I can have a good conversation while keeping it light. And as I get older I have noticed (I’m 35) some women have acquired a “sophisticated boredom” (appearing very polished, opinionated and cultured but slightly dull and unable to have fun, you know these types) and have looked down at “cuteness” (backhanded or bossy comments tell the truth about their opinions) though I don’t want to be like them as they always seem to fake “something” (smile, sincerity, etc.) and try to push their personas on my types of girls.
    So, what does this mean? I can always learn to date smart but I really don’t want to stop being “cute”. As one man pointed out   to my girlfriend and I (paraphrased), “You’re both cute and happy. Why is everyone else miserable?” Yes, I date the whole man numbers aside. You create your value so you should try to be your best authentically in every way, not just for a “partner” but for yourself 🙂

  17. 17

    I think this is especially tough for women.   I say this because women can consistently ‘date’ out of their range.   That usually leads to the men(8-10s) having a fun active dating life.   But when those men want to settle they will probably settle with a 8-10.
    Of course women have always had the power in relationships.   If women would just force men to court them.   Take the time to get to know them.   Not have sex so soon.   Things would be easier.   Maybe not EASY but easier.(It would at least help weed out the players and losers.)   I think this hookup culture has really had a bad impact on people wanting to find a lasting relationship.

    1. 17.1

      I agree, this hooking up and hanging out culture (not to mention texting) has really put a HUGE damper on courtship.   It’s going to take a CRITICAL mass of women only accepting courtship behavior to turn it around.   I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
      Women who need a certain level of emotional connection before advancing the physical/sexual connection are competing with the fact that there are plenty of women who don’
      t wait for that connection.   However, the man who is looking for an emotional connection with a particular woman,   won’t demand sex instantly, and   will make a woman feel safe and will gently lead her to intimacy if he really cares for her.   He won’t wait for some ridiculously long period of time, but he won’t employ the 3 date rule either.

  18. 18

    I hear you, I find all this talk about leagues, the scale of 1-10, SMV, etc. to be very distasteful.     I’m not in high school anymore, so dating the prom King and being the prom Queen should no longer be the goal, but I do think that many grown ups still approach dating like they are trying to get into the “cool kids” clique at school.
    People seem more concerned about competing than connecting (haggling over which person in the relationship is the “prize” and which one is the “prize winner”.   How about this, LOVE is the prize and the 2 people are a team who win the prize TOGETHER ??? )     All this talk about about a persons SMV, seems more to be about someone looking for a “trophy” to show off to the whole world, than a partner to love, honor and cherish for who they are.
    Obviously I would never want to get into a relationship with someone who’s physical characteristics did not attract me in the slightest, nor would would I want to be in a relationship that caused all my family and friends to think, “She could do better than that”, but I’m certainly don’t want to die lonely, holding out for that perfect 10 in looks who will make all girlfriends green with envy.
    Give me a fun, easy,   playful, happy relationship with a “6” any day of the week, over a high drama, tense, difficult relationship with a guy who’s a “9”or “10” who feels entitled to treat me like crap because I’m beneath his league.
    If it’s someone I love, eventually they become a TEN in MY EYES anyway.   Seriously, once I bond and relate to someone, they become incredibly beautiful in my eyes, regardless of what the world thinks.

    1. 18.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You can claim it to be distasteful, but it’s a useful shorthand. Whether you like it or not, not everyone is the same. And while people’s opinions do vary (one woman’s 9 is another woman’s 6), the point is that every person has different standards and preferences. So it would be disingenuous to suggest that, regardless of whether you actually verbalize your “label” or “evaluation”, you, too, see men on a sliding scale of attractiveness. A “10” in attractiveness is just a simplified way of saying irrationally intense chemistry. You’re not going to suggest that all people have equal rights to being a 10 or equal “sexual market value”, are you? And if not, what is so wrong with using numbers to make a greater point about the deception of passion?

      1. 18.1.1

        This is   true. I have found some men really attractive, let’s say a 9 (using the numbers scale for sake of argument) and as I get to know him it diminishes to maybe a 6 or 7 because that initial “attraction” or passion is gone. There is more to the “gorgeous face”, feelings, values, intelligence, personality. This does not mean the attraction is gone. However, it’s just different. You decide if you want to know more about the person and if they want to know more about you. At some point, you determine if you want to keep learning about him or keep looking for your match.
        It’s not distasteful per se, a “value” of   someone is something we sort of do anyway using our own scale. Maybe we say he just, “eh” or “he’s…alright”. Okay, in our code,”eh” is maybe a “2” and “he’s…..alright” is maybe a “4”, for example. There is no number associated for real but boy, if some one called me,”eh” I would think I was a 2 or something! Therefore,   quality relationships are VERY important. Initial passion fades. Looks do fade. It’s all the other stuff that lasts 🙂

        1. SparklingEmerald

          I don’t find it particularly distasteful when someone uses a “number” as shorthand   to describe   how attracted THEY are to someone, but when they use a “number” or an SMV to assign TO that person, and think that their own personal opinion of someone’s worth is the gospel truth of that’s person’s value, instead of recognizing it for what it is, their own personal opinion.  
          I don’t like to describe anyone as being “out of my league” or “beneath my league”, that just sounds to snotty to me, but I think of men as either “my type” or “not my type”   and either consider myself   “their type” or not.
          I have also noticed that when a date just leads to a dead end, women think it’s them, men think it’s her.   Women will say, “I just wasn’t attracted to him” and men will say, “She wasn’t attractive”.
          One person’s 2, is another person’s 9 (because there is no such thing as a 10 )
          I still haven’t figured out EXACTLY what makes me attracted to one man and not another, when all else is equal.   I do know, that in the looks department I am more focused on the face than the body.   I don’t care about height, a few extra pounds don’t bother me, (in fact, I rather like a little bit of a gut) but I am face focused.   Not just looking for the physical features of the face, but the facial expressions.   Does he seem happy & kind ?   I also look for the “sneer” or the “smirk”.   I really don’t know how to describe it, but I know it when I see it.   It’s this kind of sleazy look, like a used car salesman who just knowingly sold a customer a lemon, by taking advantage of that person’s ignorance.     I usually only see that “sneer” on very attractive men.   Some people might think that sneer shows confidence, I think it shows arrogance.
          I read an article that said one way to tell if a man wants you for you, or just want you for sex, is to notice where he focuses the most.   Does he look at your face more, or your body more ?   If he’s focusing on your face, he searching for clues to your emotional state, are you kind, are you loving, are you happy ?   Well, if he spends most of the evening talking to your cleavage, well there’s your answer.  
          I guess the fact that I am more attracted to a kind face than six pack abs, tells me what I am focused on finding in another relationship.   Also explains why I just can’t get on board with detached emotionless sex,   no matter how lonely I feel.
          Also, if we can’t have an easy, back and forth conversations, that is an attraction killer no matter what other outer characteristics a man may have.   If we can’t converse easily, then we obviously aren’t a match emotionally or intellectually.   In that case, I don’t care how sexy he is.

  19. 19

    I use the scale myself just to label my OWN feelings of how attracted I feel towards someone,   I sometimes I FEEL 10 towards someone whom I don’t think is terribly good looking, and I might just feel a very low number for someone who is GREAT looking.
    I agree when I feel a “10” it usually spells disaster, so it is intense and irrational.  
    I find it distasteful that relationships seemed to have been reduced to treating people like trophies and prizes and objects, and it seems to be more about impressing other people with your “trophy boyfriend/girlfriend” or a competition to see who can get the so called “upper hand” in a relationship.   Seems to be more about gamesmanship than having a real emotional bond with another human being these days.

  20. 20

    I was highly physically attracted to my spouse after meeting him. After I got to know him I was even more attracted.   I don’t think a solid marriage is built on so-so attraction. As others have mentioned attraction wanes after many years together so if you’re not super attracted in the first place that will be really bad later in life. Those marriages are usually the ones where the wife never wants sex any more.  

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