New research published this month by Northwestern Profs. Eli Finkel and Alice Eagly and Texas A&M University Prof. Paul Eastwick shows that people abandon their list of preferred traits in a romantic partner once they meet a potential mate in person.
In an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the authors stated, “Particularly when initiating relationships, it seems that potential partners who happen to match our ideal partner preferences get no preferential treatment from our way.”
Although people may disregard their list of preferred characteristics for a romantic partner when they first meet someone, the authors point out when it comes to long-term relationships, those traits are important.
“Once a relationship has been established, the match between a current partner’s traits and the pattern of our ideal partner preferences may ultimately affect relationship well-being,” the authors said in the Journal.
Eastwick said although the study is more important for older people who might use an online dating service, it does play some role in the lives of college students.
“The truth is, the college students probably haven’t come into the online dating thing,” Eastwick said. “But you learn about potential partners through your friends talking and even though that person might not sound good ‘on paper,’ you meet someone in person and you find they really weren’t that