Approaching a decade, there appears to be either a deepening or a drifting, and I feared the drift.
Approaching a decade, there appears to be either a deepening or a drifting, and I feared the drift.
Dr Ty Tashiro's book.
Dr Ty Tashiro's book.

London - Singletons looking for long-lasting love should keep their dating checklist to a three-wish minimum, with looks and money left out of the equation, according to a new relationship guide.

Dr Ty Tashiro, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland and author of The Science of Happily Ever After, writes that the problem with men and women is that they “want everything” in a suitor and as a result, end up with nothing.

He says people should concentrate on seeking out desirable personality traits in partners with “agreeableness” being the key to sustainable love and sexual desire.

This term is used to assess the extent to which an individual is “courteous, flexible, trusting, good-natured, co-operative, forgiving, soft-hearted and tolerant” – meaning, Dr Tashiro says, that the good guy does come out on top.

Neuroticism, on the other hand – used to describe those prone to anxiety, depression, embarrassment, emotional instability and insecurity – is outed as the number-one worst trait for relationship sustainability.

Tashiro says “openness”, although a good trait on the surface – defining those who are “cultivated, cultured, imaginative, original” – also makes for a disaster in relationships when combined with low levels of conscientiousness. These novelty-seeking mates are apparently almost certain to cheat.

“If you choose someone with traits that drive you crazy or make you sad while you’re dating, those traits will make you crazy or sad for decades to come,” he writes. “So you want to choose well, because what you see is what you get.”

To properly fall in love, he says, it’s important to maintain sound levels of “liking” and “lusting” which can be complicated, given the varying attrition rates.

According to studies, liking declines at a rate of 3 percent a year, while lusting deteriorates at a faster 8 percent.

Tashiro reiterates that good looks are not a predictor of sexual satisfaction, nor do they correlate with happier marriages.

In fact, there is “no reliable association between physical attractiveness and relationship satisfaction,” he writes, citing his own research.

In addition, money does not keep a relationship buoyant, at least over a certain point.

Money makes a difference on the low end of the income scale, which has the highest divorce rates in the first 10 years of marriage, but there seem to be “diminishing returns” on happiness in marriage above a financially stable $75 000 (about R830 000) a year.

“Once this $75 000 threshold is crossed, there is no significant association between more wealth and higher levels of psychological well-being,” Tashiro writes.

“There comes a point when affluence becomes associated with social pressures and social isolation.”

He suggests it is most important to focus on finding someone who can help “create a household where basic needs are met and there is a low probability of experiencing economic hardship”.

According to Tashiro, society’s fairy-tale view of romance – 88 percent of adults believe in soulmates – has contributed to the fact that although 90 percent of people will marry in their lifetimes, only one in three will find long-lasting love.

He urges people to be more realistic in their expectations to improve the odds of finding a compatible mate.

He says women often hunt for a man who is handsome, tall and makes good money, but only about 1 percent of the suitors they meet will fit the bill. However, if they settle for average looks, height and income, they raise those odds to 13 percent. – Daily Mail


Tashiro’s top tips for enduring love

* Trim your dating checklist down to three wishes.

* Keep the odds in mind when choosing these to ensure that unrealistic expectations don’t get in the way of finding long-lasting happiness.

* Rate kindness over good looks and money.

* Be realistic in your expectations to avoid disappointment.

* Realise that you cannot change personality traits you dislike in a partner and “what you see is what you get”.

* Look to maintain equal levels of “liking” and “lusting” as you go along.