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What should I include in my list of what I want in a relationship?

Neuroscientists have found that the brain's reward system is activated when people envision characteristics they find desirable in a partner, suggesting that having a clear "must-have" list can help guide us towards compatible matches.

Psychologists recommend including "deal-breakers" on your list, as identifying non-negotiable qualities can prevent wasted time and heartbreak down the line.

Studies show that couples who have realistic, well-defined expectations of their partner tend to have higher relationship satisfaction compared to those with overly idealized notions.

Evolutionary biologists propose that our mate preferences likely evolved to maximize the chances of healthy offspring and successful pair-bonding, influencing qualities like physique, personality, and resources.

Relationship therapists advise clients to consider how a potential partner's values, goals and lifestyle would complement or conflict with their own when crafting a relationship wish list.

Anthropological research indicates that the importance placed on certain traits, like financial stability or parenting abilities, varies across cultures and can shift over time as societal norms change.

Neurolinguistic programming techniques suggest framing desired partner qualities in a positive, present-tense manner (e.g.

"kind and supportive") rather than negative terms (e.g.

"not manipulative").

Behavioural economists have found that people tend to assign higher value to characteristics they already possess when evaluating potential mates, a cognitive bias known as the "endowment effect."

Psychologists note that being clear on your core values and "must-haves" is crucial, as compromising on these fundamental traits is linked to lower relationship satisfaction over time.

Sociologists observe that individuals from divorced families often prioritize different relationship qualities compared to those from intact households, shaped by their own family experiences.

Attachment theory suggests that our childhood attachment styles can unconsciously influence the types of partners we are drawn to and the dynamics we recreate in adult relationships.

Relationship researchers propose that including "nice-to-have" qualities alongside non-negotiables allows for flexibility and can prevent ruling out potentially compatible matches.

Neuropsychologists have found that the brain's response to images of an ideal partner is distinct from its reaction to an actual romantic partner, highlighting the gap between fantasy and reality.

Evolutionary psychologists suggest that women tend to place greater emphasis on indicators of resource acquisition and parenting ability, while men often prioritize physical attractiveness and fertility cues.

Interpersonal communication experts advise periodically revisiting and refining your relationship list as you grow and your priorities shift over the course of your life.

Positive psychology research indicates that focusing too narrowly on a rigid checklist can backfire, as flexibility, openness and a willingness to be surprised are also key ingredients for relationship success.

Relationship coaches note that including qualities like "good communicator" or "emotionally available" can be more helpful than vague terms like "kind" or "caring," which can have different meanings for each person.

Social psychologists observe that people who have experienced past relationship trauma or disappointment may be more inclined to create overly specific or unrealistic partner criteria as a self-protective measure.

Interdisciplinary studies suggest that incorporating both "heart-based" (e.g.

shared interests, chemistry) and "head-based" (e.g.

compatible lifestyles, long-term goals) criteria can lead to more lasting romantic connections.

Neuroscientists have found that the brain's reward pathways are activated when people encounter potential partners who match their idealized wish list, providing a neurological basis for the "click" of romantic chemistry.

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