Men and Women Want the Same Exact Things – on Paper

From “Researchers at the University of Iowa find that men increasingly are interested in intelligent, educated women who are financially stable – and chastity isn’t an issue.”

Well, duh.

Men still chase looks over dependability. Women still chase money over consistency.

Not surprisingly, men and women value the same things as essential:

  • Mutual attraction and love
  • Dependable character
  • Emotional stability

Alas, lists are not lives. Men still chase looks over dependability. Women still chase money over consistency. But I think it’s heartening to see that, at least, on paper, we claim to want what’s most important to a lasting relationship. Full study can be seen here:

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  1. 1

    I’m so on board with emotional stability. It’s so hard to find another human being with that, let alone a woman.

  2. 2
    Karl R

    I don’t think there’s a huge difference between what people want (on paper) and what they ultimately pursue. But I think there’s a big difference between what they want and what they can perceive.

    How can I tell if I have mutual love with a girlfriend? I date her long enough to see if love develops.

    How can I tell if a girlfriend is dependable? I date her long enough (and depend upon her enough) to see if I get burned.

    How can I tell if a girlfriend is emotionally stable? I date her until she hits a moment of crisis which demonstrates how stable she really is.

    Heck, how can I tell if there’s mutual attraction with a woman? I act on my unilateral attraction and see how she responds.

    I can tell if a woman is good looking at a glance. I can tell whether she’s intelligent and educated during our first conversation. On an internet dating site, I can guess a lot of those criteria just from the profile: looks, education, good financial prospect, (broad) political views, interest in children, (and I can filter my searches for several of these). I can’t tell any of the most important information from a profile. So we make our initial decisions based on the information that we have, not the information we’d like to have.

    I was interested to see that they apparently had neglected to ask women how important good financial prospects were to them. Similarly, they neglected to ask men how important it was that a potential spouse desire a home and children.

    Obviously there are some people who continue to pursue a relationship with an attractive / wealthy member of the opposite sex … even after they’ve determined that person does not love them, is not dependable, and isn’t emotionally stable. But that seems to be a minority.

  3. 3

    “…I think there’s a big difference between what they want and what they can perceive.”

    True, even if they pursue different things on paper.

    In my dating experience I’ve found many guys who say one thing but go for the other. They say they want a family with an intelligent woman, but then keep dating lunachicks, or only notice the woman w the large chest and ignore the mere motals.

    So what’s the solution? Actions speak louder than words, so clue into that.

  4. 4
    Curly Girl

    I didn’t see the part in the study where it found that men still chase looks over dependability and that women still chase money over consistency. Did I miss something?

  5. 5

    Ya but it’s so hard to find an intelligent woman!
    Just kidding.

  6. 6

    This study was zero credibility with me. 20 and 21-year old college students don’t know what the hell they want, and in fact I don’t think men and women really know what they want until they approach 30.

  7. 7

    20- and 21-year old college students don’t even know who they are, let alone who they’re going to be.

  8. 8

    Yes, dubious study. “Want” vs. “require,” for example. However, to the possible extent that in practice men and women genuinely want similar things beyond looks, people probably overestimate their skill in quickly judging the non-superficial traits, for example, inferring from a nice look and seeming friendliness that someone is a good person . The halo effect from appearance and perhaps social demeanor is strong and can last a long time. The possibly biggest lure of Internet dating is the bypass of that trap; the problem is that it does not.

  9. 9

    To not leave readers with the idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover when on some level everyone tries to… Sometimes the personality traits that lead to appealing presentation are bad, such as manipulativeness and narcissism – stereotypical example is a woman wearing tight clothing and excessive makeup, although generally such an extreme is not wanted for a serious relationship. Unfortunately, there are more than a few people of good character who swear off significant appearance effort because of such associations. Another issue is that people often fall into relationships, so that appearance (or other signs) might not raise flags because it’s just for “fun” but eventually an attachment that maybe ought not develop does develop.

  10. 10
    Curly Girl

    Was the study about what people want in a relationship partner or what people look for in an online date? I thought it was about a relationship partner. I see dating (esp online) and relationship as two different things.

  11. 11

    Mic #8

    I would like to see a study involving people in their 30’s, 40,’s, 50’s. I wonder if a study of older people with more life experience and at different stages in their lives would yield different results. Sometimes what people think they SHOULD want, and actually DO want can be different…

  12. 12

    Ruby, don’t we all 🙂 There is data for the in-between period that does not bode well.
    Keep in mind that 1) people who say looks don’t matter/only the inside counts often are older and not looking, e.g., might not have practiced what they preach and 2) younger generations have grown up with different mores than their predecessors, such that the implication that time brings wisdom might be dubious (after all, IQ doesn’t increase). It’s also possible that people with dubious criteria in practice become less visible with age. Well, the educated guess is that most people behave at least a bit more wisely as they mature, in part because of lower emotionalism and external aging, as The Onion has satirized.

  13. 13

    What a man wants on paper and what we respond to in real life are sometimes two VERY different things.

  14. 14
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    The argument about what people want versus what they perceive – I’d like to add a layer to that which is “What people want versus what is reality.” I talk to many women who refuse to settle, yet their standards are so high, only George Clooney could meet them – but not really since he is the consummate unattainable man.
    And then I hear from all the men who want women 15 – 20 years younger than them. Some women want this too.
    If criteria for a partner included good heart, honest, healthy, self-supporting, fun, shares the same values, is attractive to me -both men and women would have a much better chance of finding love. When my dating coaching clients work on getting to the bottom of what they really NEED, they increase their odds of finding love dramatically.

  15. 15

    RAR #14, this is probably why you have these clients – because their expectations are so high nobody can meet them. And then they wonder why they’re single.

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