Sunday, 8 August 2010


Many people have faced, or are facing, challenges when choosing a mate or potential life partner.
And they have probably realised that it is not as easy as choosing a favourite drink or a holiday destination.
This is because a relationship is a complex affair in which a number of factors come into play.
There are several assumptions to help expound on this complex issue.
The first assumption is that there is a hunter and a hunted in a relationship, or, as some people put it, predator and prey.
What this means is that the hunter or predator decides on the “prey” to catch, depending on his taste.
However, there is debate on who the real hunter or the hunted is.
Men take pride in their supposed ability to easily capture the most suitable mate, while women say that they know how to position themselves in such a way that the right man cannot fail to notice them.
The second assumption is based on similarity. As an often repeated saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
This simply means that one’s taste is dependent on commonality, so we choose a partner whose tastes closely resemble our own.
The third assumption is the extreme opposite of the second one. It is borrowed from the magnetic field theory, which states that unlike poles attract, while like poles repel.
It depicts a symbiotic relationship where one person relates with another (or others) in search of something that completes what is missing in his or her life. The fourth assumption is derived from the saying, “The river follows its course.”
This is somehow beyond one’s control since it is predetermined.
For instance, in some cultures, a partner is chosen for an individual when he or she is young and he/she has no say in the matter.
Another factor that plays a role in preference is physical appearance.
For some people, factors such as skin colour, dressing style, height, posture, looks, level of intelligence, mannerisms, and other observable qualities are important.
And today, a person’s financial capacity plays a major role in determining preference.
This is because finances determine where you live, hang out, how you dress, where you spend your holidays, and even what you eat.
These assumptions, plus a host of other factors, work together to determine a person’s taste and preference.
Many people are unaware of this and it takes an awareness creation forum — perhaps even an article like this one — to make them conscious of the characteristics they look for in a partner.
Most people have deep-rooted values, beliefs, and prejudices derived from their cultural and religious backgrounds, which dictate the kind of people they should associate with.
But whatever your preference, it is important to choose wisely.
When you are young and still dating, it is advisable to use the sampling method, where you meet as many people as possible and then gradually eliminate those who are unsuitable. This the best way to tell what you want
The writer is a counselling psychologist

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