In recent years, people have been flocking to online dating sites in search of a partner, who has all the ideal traits they desire in a mate.
But when they actually end up meeting a potential dating partner, those romantic preferences are likely to fall by the wayside, according to new research from Northwestern University and Texas A and M University.
People liked potential partners that matched their ideals more than those that mismatched their ideals when they examined written descriptions of potential partners, but those same ideals didn't matter once they actually met in person, according to a new study by psychologists Paul W. Eastwick, Eli J. Finkel and Alice H. Eagly.
"People have ideas about the abstract qualities they're looking for in a romantic partner," said Eastwick, lead author of the study.
"But once you actually meet somebody face to face, those ideal preferences for traits tend to be quite flexible."
According to Finkel, co-author of the study, the idea is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.People are not simply the average of their traits," he said.
"Knowing that somebody is persistent, ambitious and sexy does not tell you what that person is actually like. It doesn't make sense for us to search for partners that way."
So those seeking prospective partners, don't be surprised if you end up ignoring your preconceived notions about what would make an ideal mate.
"Based on those ideals, you might end up liking a person upon meeting face to face, or you might have the opposite reaction," Finkel said.