The Science of Dating – How to maximise your chances of long term relationship success

While there is nothing unusual about having a type when it comes to dating, we all know somebody who is guilty of taking it a bit too far. Think about that colleague who is obsessed with only dating glamourous blondes, or your friend who won’t even look twice at somebody unless they are over 6ft tall. Then ask yourself this question, how many times have their uncompromising preferences led them into successful relationships?

Well, according to the science behind relationships, there might be a very good reason to ditch the tunnel vision and look for somebody who doesn’t necessarily tick all your usual boxes.

Bear with us while we explain.

A recent article on Wired, adapted from a new book by data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, examined whether it is possible to predict whether two people will be happy in a romantic relationship.

In a nutshell, Stephens-Davidowitz sets out the efforts of scientists to define reliably which traits can predict relationship success. But like anything in life, there were some important lessons learned along the way.

For one, the researchers found many of the traits that are competed for ferociously in the dating world do not necessarily correlate with romantic happiness. Citing data collected from online dating apps, the article points out that single people are predictably drawn to certain qualities in a partner, such as height, wealth, beauty, occupation, and similarity to themselves.

However, the conclusion was that there was not a set of traits that guarantees romantic happiness. In fact, the traits most valued by daters were found to be among the least predictive of long-term relationship happiness, despite their attention-grabbing qualities in the dating world. So, if indeed daters believe the pursuit of these particular traits will lead to relationship success, it then suggests single people are actually going about dating all wrong.

The findings led the author to sum up: “In the dating market, people compete ferociously for mates with qualities that do not increase one’s chances of romantic happiness.”  

It’s not just data science that has led to these sort of conclusions – dating experts are keen to point out the detrimental impact of relentlessly focusing on a certain ‘type’ when you are looking for love. Over on our blog, our master executive coach Genevieve Gresset explained how having a relationship checklist can hold you back in your quest for love.

Solely focusing on a checklist of physical and personal preferences can limit your search for the perfect partner, as you simply don’t know who you are going to share a connection with. You could be ruling out somebody special just because they don’t tick all of your usual boxes and the person you’ve initially discounted could actually be perfect for you.

Don’t get hung up on certain traits

It’s important to remember that height and age are just a number, and it does not matter if you have completely different tastes in music, TV, or film. Shared interests offer a good starting point for those initial conversations, but it doesn’t guarantee that your relationship will be successful in the long-term.

The same goes for getting hung up on physical attractiveness. It can really pay to disregard a profile photo and concentrate on what the profile says about the person, their values, aspirations and ultimately their potential compatibility in a relationship.

Physical attraction is important but it’s vital to remember there’s many other aspects to consider if you want a long-lasting, happy relationship. By keeping an open mind, you are much more likely to open yourself up to some truly amazing people and you stand a much better chance of achieving the all-important spark you’ve been searching for.

Focus on yourself

There was another valuable finding that was gleaned from the data analysed in the Wired article which could help predict relationship success – and it does not involve the traits of the individual you’re dating.

Researchers found that if somebody is happy and content in their life outside a relationship, then it can have a huge impact on their happiness within a relationship. This serves as a valuable reminder to always focus on your own well-being and self-love in your dating journey. Dating can be tough, especially if you’ve been on a string of unsuccessful dates and it’s all starting to feel like a chore.

Focusing on what makes you happy in life can be a valuable antidote to dating burnout. It can help to concentrate on yourself and enjoy time with family and friends to appreciate what you have in life. Building some valuable breathing room into your dating journey can provide the time to understand what you’re looking for in a partner. You’ll then be in a much better place to tackle the dating world refreshed and confident, helping you achieve a more fulfilling and stronger relationship in the long run.

Stephens-Davidowitz’s book is a fascinating insight into the modern dating world. It’s another timely reminder to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of mono-manic dating – instead ditch the checklist approach to be in with the best chance of meeting somebody who you will really share a connection with!  

Are you looking for help with your search for love? Our matchmaking team can open your horizons to a new way to date, introducing you to hand-selected individuals you’ll really share a spark with. Give us a call today and find out how we can assist with an enjoyable and stress-free search for love!

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