People more satisfied with the ‘best available’ partner rather than holding out for the perfect mate


For those who refuse to settle for less than a perfect match, might never find romantic satisfaction.


A new study reveals satisfaction doesn’t rely on how someone’s partner compared to their ideas of a supreme mate, but how they measure up to others in the dating pool.


Researchers found those who believed their partners exhibited ideal traits and are difficult to replace were more inclined to put forth more effort and were ultimately more satisfied.

‘Satisfaction and happiness are not as clear cut as we think they are,’ University of Texas, Austin psychology researcher Daniel Conroy-Beam said in a recent press release.


‘We do not need ideal partners for relationship bliss. Instead, satisfaction appears to come, in part, from getting the best partner available to us.’


In order to learn about what contributes to satisfaction in a relationship and how much energy is devoted to maintaining it, they recruited 119 men and 140 women who had been in relationships for an average of seven and a half years.


Surveys asked participants to rate the importance of 27 traits in an ideal mate and the extent to which they felt each trait described both their actual partner and themselves.


This method was then used to calculate each of the participants’ and their partners’ mate value, or desirability within the mating pool as determined by the group’s average ideal preferences.


Satisfaction and happiness in their relationships was also reported in the survey.


The team discovered that satisfaction does not necessarily depend on how a partner compares with a person’s idea of the perfect mate, but rather how others in the mating pool better matched a person’s ideal preferences.