ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mate Selection - How Men and Women Choose Mates May Not Be the Best Way

Updated on September 22, 2015

For those of you who keep searching for love, how do you usually choose your mates? Do you base your choices solely on the basis of physical attraction, or do you also take other complex emotional, social and environmental factors into consideration? According to Social Psychologists, we (both male and female)often tend to go about choosing our mates based on the following:

  1. Complementary and Compatible needs
  2. Interpersonal Attraction
  3. Similarity in social Background

Although all the above factors that we often take into consideration when choosing a mate seem logical, there is no guarantee that any of these methods of mate selection is going to help us to find a lifelong partner. Below is a brief explanation and also examples of each of the above factors that we often consider important.

Complementary and Compatible Needs

The complementary and compatible needs concept comes into play when we mesh our needs with those of others. Based on the concept of complementary and compatible needs, a person with the need to dominate is usually attracted to an individual with the need to be dominated. Likewise, a person with a need to care for others is drawn to someone with a need to be cared for.

Contrarily, although a high need for dominance in one partner and a low need for dominance in the other would be complementary, this doesn't necessarily mean both would be compatible. A person who likes to stay home for example, might be interested in another individual who likes to do the same. Again, these two individuals might not necessarily be a compatible pair.

Interpersonal Attraction

Interpersonal attraction is influence by various factors such as physical attractiveness, attitudes, similarities, and so on. Social Psychologists believe that attraction is the magnet which draws different individuals together and cause them to resist separation. We often rely on interpersonal attraction when making close relationships, including mate selection and life- long friendship. Studies on dating relationships indicate that people of similar physical attractiveness tend to pair up.

One possible explanation for this pattern, is that when choosing a date, we tend to consider not only the attractiveness of the other person but also the probability of being rejected by that person. According to Social Science experts, dating in other words, follows the rule of the marketplace: a man contemplates the risks and rewards before approaching a woman for a date.

If a man sees himself as fairly unattractive, he thinks that it's likely that an attractive woman will reject him, so he lowers his sights to a somewhat less attractive date. It's believed that when there is no possibility of refusal, men have a tendency to choose more attractive women for dates than they would have chosen under normal circumstances.

There is also the possibility that men with a low evaluation of themselves are less sensitive to rejection than those who considered themselves to be attractive. In some cases, unattractive men may become accustomed to being turned down. Also, the chance of a highly rewarding partner may encourage them to risk refusal.

Another possible interpretation is that people will make an effort to develop dating relationships, but since they are rejected by those who think they can find more attractive dates, they ended up pairing up with other individuals of similar attractiveness. This sorting process can somewhat use to explain researchers finding, that dating couples tend to be similar in physical attractiveness.

Similarity in Social Background

Not only do most couples tend to be similar in physical attractiveness, they also tend to share the same race, religion, economic status, and education level. Young people for example, often encounter strong social pressures, especially from parents, to marry someone with a similar social history.


To summarize, although complementary and compatible needs, interpersonal attraction and similarity in social background are all important factors to consider sometimes when selecting a mate, relying solely on any one of the above is simply not always the best way to go about choosing a mate. There is certainly a lot more that you may have to take into consideration, such as regular communication, understanding, the willingness to compromise and so on. Quite often, the amount of work we put in our relationship usually determines the outcome.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      And where does love come from. It does not relyon neither of the above.

    • mackyi profile imageAUTHOR

      I.W. McFarlane 

      6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Lol!In my conclusion, I said "there is more than this", hoping readers like yourself would share your thoughts or add to the list! Certainly,money do have a lot of power Garcie! Nowadays, it seems as if men also like to be with women loaded with money. Thanks for your honest thoughts.

    • profile image

      Kieran Gracie 

      6 years ago

      There is another category - money! Being somewhat cynical, it is remarkable how men with loads of money seem to attract the best looking women.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)