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In the past, there was an huge differences between the standards of male and female choosing their ideal partner. While male mainly focused on the partner's personality and female will focus on the outer factors such as financial statement. However, for the standards of ideal partner, it will change time over time. Historically, people believed that the differences in choosing standards was based on the gender differences.
With the different stages in people’s life, they would considered different aspect. As people’s stage could be divided into three stages which is single, having a partner and after marriage. Emond (2014) stated that motivation, sexual interest or even company was the first steps towards the beginning of a loving relationship. It mentioned that male and female could have the same standard towards ideal partner (Mcguirl, 2000). However, slightly different of the ideal partner may still appeared. Therefore, the report was aimed to examined the differences towards ideal partner while including stage and gender differences.
The purpose of this report was threefold: (1) to discover the standard of male and female in choosing ideal partner; (2) the factors that affect their choices; and (3) the gender difference in ideal partner. Interview was obtained to discover the standard of male and female in choosing ideal partner. Moreover, the factors which affecting their choices will also be discussed.
Interview was obtained from 6 Hong Kong Shue Yan university students at Ground floor of Lady Lily Shaw Hall, including 3 males and 3 females. There are some information about the interviewees.
Boy 1 - in relationship with Girl 1
Boy 2 - Single
Boy 3 - in relationship
Girl 1 - in relationship with Boy 1
Girl 2 - in relationship
Girl 3 - in relationship
The summary of the interview results
According to the result of our interview, a comparison was made between the ideal partners, which means the ideal boyfriend and girlfriend. To compare both sides of requirements, firstly, the total numbers of qualities proposed in ideal boyfriend were less than those in ideal girlfriend, despite the fact that there were only three qualities were commonly suggested by the participants on either side.
In the category of ideal boyfriend, height, loyal and caring were the common qualities mentioned by female participants, while good features, compromise and kindness were the common qualities proposed by the male. There were also some other qualities raised by both male and female participants, such as for ideal boyfriend to be mature and have a common language, for an ideal girlfriend it has to be attentive, having mutual understanding etc.
Secondly, looking into the qualities, the physical requirement in an ideal boyfriend was the height. As to provide a sense of protection and security. On the other hand, an ideal girlfriend needed to have good features, when asked reason behind, participants answered as it was their own preference. The temperament qualities in an ideal boyfriend were loyal and caring, as they were fundamental as well as beneficent to a relationship. While in ideal girlfriend, temperament qualities were compromise and kindness, as those are the fundamental qualities.
In ideal husband and wife, the numbers of quality suggested in a husband were more than that in a wife. The common qualities of husband suggested by participants were caring and loyal, which were also mentioned in the qualities of ideal boyfriend. The common qualities mentioned by participants in ideal girlfriend were attentive, compromise and have good financial management skills. The compromise has also appeared in ideal girlfriend.
In the types of qualities, no physical qualities were required in the stage of marriage, requirements on ideal husband were more based on temperament and special requirements, such as good-tempered and ambitious; cherishing the individual and feel comfortable together. And requirements on ideal wife were more based on temperament and skills, like caring and can cook well. The temperament requirement of an ideal husband was loyal and caring, which the ideal wife was compromise and attentive. And having good financial management, for the skill requirement of an ideal wife.
For ideal father and mother, the total numbers of all qualities suggested by participants were similar on both sides of the ideal father and mother. Though, there were no mutual qualities shared by participants. Some qualities were duplicated in previous stages, for example, good-tempered, caring and attentive. There were no physical requirements on the parental stage. The requirements were more rely on temperaments, like tolerance and prudent in ideal father; family-oriented and caring in ideal mother. And there were requirements on financial status in ideal father and good financial management for ideal mother.
The changes in different stages
Qualities required in 3 stages, including the period of having a relationship, after marriage and as a parent, will change from time to time. It is because the changing function and responsibility in different stages need a relevant qualification to fulfil. For example, a mother needs to spend lots of time to take care of her children, but a girlfriend does not have this concern. The responsibilities or characteristics required in different stages and required quality needs will further analysis in the following paragraphs.
While having a relationship, the responsibilities of couples are to provide a romantic relationship with their partners, sexually maybe involved. Also, they may need a good or attractive appearance to let their partners show off. In this stage, more physical qualities are requiring. Also, they have to treat their partners well like loyal or compromise. Besides, they just focus on having a good time with their partners since they have fewer life concerns in living with each other. Furthermore, they are an individual in the relationship rather than an inseparable intimate relationship because they can walk away from the relationship if they want and have less responsibility by comparing to the stage after married.
After married, the individuals become a part of the family, they are responsible to maintain the family works. They should shoulder up more responsibility by contributing to the family. Moreover, the relationship will last for a lifetime and is legally involved. Therefore, they are not easy to give up their relationship. Furthermore, they need more communications since more decisions need to be made especially in the financial aspect.
After having a kid of their own, parents have similar responsibilities as being a husband/wife. The main focus of the relationship will be shifted to the growth of their children since they become the most important part of the family. By comparing to the previous stage, they have different daily routines and need to sacrifice their pleasure time and interests for the family by earning more salaries to satisfy with the increasing financial expenses.
To sum up, couples focus the most on physical qualities and having a good time with their partners. Married couples focus on the temperament and maintaining the relationship instead of physical qualities need more due to the increasing life concerns. Parents mainly focus on their children's needs and financial aspects instead of mutual and physical qualities needs.
The reasons cause the gender differences in ideal partner can be divided into 2 perspective: evolutionary and social structure theory. From the evolutionary perspective, the differences between gender can reflect the situation faced by female and male in ancient time. This resulted in different reproductive status hold by each gender which cause influence on their life. Therefore, both of them will develop distinct tactic in order to ensure their chance to survive and success in reproduction. Unlikely parental investment hold by each gender can result in their differences in choosing partner. Since female always occupy lower social status, thus, they should invest greater in reproduction to protect themselves.
Consequently, women based on the likelihood on being a great parent to find their partners, while men will more likely to seek their mate by only judging the appearance. Female will prefer their partner to not only to have physically attractive but also best earning power. Because this reflect their chosen one is superior and the “good” gene can be pass to their offsprings. However, male are less fussy on partner selection as they do not have the concern on offsprings survive rate.
From the social structure theory, it point out that the major reasons lead to gender differences is the social structure. Since the past to the present time, male always have higher social role than female. In order to adapt the differences in social role, both gender have to adjust their expectation on finding ideal partner. It is believed that societies and culture will change from time to time, thus, in response to the changes human have to adjust their mate selection requirements. For example, since there are huge differences on physical strength between women and men, men are can always succeed in some activities or occupation better than women. Hence, the social role hold by different gender is rely on their ability and contribution to the society.
Men own greater power while women are supposed to be less powerful and lower capability in finishing work which lead to the situation that men have dominant social role but women can only be the companion of men. Therefore, if women have to upside social mobility, they have choose a partner that enjoy higher social status or the one who have the potential to be wealthy in the society. And for men, as they already enjoy high social status and power, they do not have to worry about the social status of their life partner so they can select mate base on their orientation but not reproduction ability or social status.
From the result of our interview, we found that the requirement of ideal partner for both gender are inconsistent among three different stages. This can be explained by 2 factors: evolutionary theory and social role theory. In evolutionary theory, it is believed that the consistency of partner selection preferences is depend on how its effect on the chance to survival. This suggested that behavioral tendencies, physical characteristics, and personality features which are beneficial in survive and reproduce will affect our mate selection preferences importantly. (Denisiuk, 2005)
Also, the ability of different gender will strengthen or weaken through life period which indicated the demand for different stage will be distinct and finally cause the inconsistency in ideal partner as well. And for social role theory, this claims that because of the role differences in the society, the requirement of ideal partner may be influenced. For example, gender equality has been improved, thus, the requirement of women will be different from the past. Last but not least, most of the interviewees said although their preferences of ideal partner will change across time and their mate cannot fulfill the requirement, they will still accept because of love. They believed that love is the most important element in a relationship, accepting the good and bad side of their partner can sublimate their bonding and led them walk further.
To conclude, it found that people’s ideal partner will change with their life’s stage due to the position change in life. Moreover, since the change of characteristics and responsibilities, the ideal image may not overlap with the previous stage. However, each of the ideal image was able to benefit the relation. Even though their partner may not match with their ideal image, they would still accept each other. Furthermore, people was willing develop as partner’s ideal image and believed that both of them can learn from the relations due to “love”.
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