The ever-evolving 'perfect man.'Have you ever looked back at an ex-boyfriend and asked, how did I ever date that person when we were so obviously incompatible?
It's not necessarily that you were incompatible . . . then. According to a survey conducted by Match.com over the past year, your tastes have simply changed over the years.
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Men must possess certain qualities to be considered "the perfect man," and those parameters change drastically as women age. In the survey, called "The Ages of Man," what women want from their relationships with men is broken down according to age range.
"[The research] also disproves the notion that standards drop later in life, as women over 55 were shown to be most picky about who they date," Match UK told Yahoo! Shine.
The results of the study are summarized below. You can see the full study results here.
Women's main concern in their late teens and early twenties is that their partner gets along with their friends. "47 percent said they would look for a relationship with someone their friends would approve of."
"This is a very relationally social time in a female's life. I refer to it as the 'fit into me' stage. Women want men who will fit in to their lives," Dr. Karen Ruskin, a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, told Yahoo! Shine. "A key way to fit in is to be viewed positively by one's social network, and to have shared interests. It is less about future and more about what feels good right now."
Also, women this age are far more likely to date a man in better physical shape than them, but shared tastes in "books, music, and film," are extremely important.
At this stage in their lives most women are focused on their careers, but physical attraction and sexual compatibility are most important. They also consider a man's level of "ambition" to be important. Two-thirds of surveyed in this age group say this is a key trait.
"This is the 'can you add value or will you take-eth away' stage. Women are starting to think about having kids someday and they certainly do not want a man who is mooching off of them," Dr. Ruskin explains. "They want someone who can be a partner with them so that their children can have the life they want their children to have, and so that they can have the lives they want to have."
Older men become more attractive to women in their late thirties and early forties, according to the study. This could be because they are looking to settle down and start a family, says Dr. Ruskin. "Women are mindful of their biological clocks ticking, which is why they want someone established, stable, and successful." They are no longer dating for attractiveness, for fun and to see where it goes, or for social fit with friends, she says.
According to the study, "73 percent said they would be willing to date someone more than five years their senior," and a man's manners at this age is essential. "Less than one percent of the women surveyed said they would date a man with bad manners."
The key word at this age is security. "95 percent of women said they were looking to find a partner with whom they felt secure." Women are also less picky at this age than at any other age, but still look for a man with a high income, which is always important to women no matter their age. Fascinatingly, 54 percent of women said they'd be interested in dating a younger man.
Intelligence and personality comes to the forefront in later life. Women look for men who share their values and have a good sense of humor. Sexuality doesn't fall by the wayside, however. "45 percent of women strongly agreed that sexual compatibility was important to them in forming a relationship at this age." Women over 55 are pickier about their partners than at any other time in their lives.
"They are tired of the irritating little day-to-day ticks and feel it is not worth it to spend time with someone if the entire interaction from start to finish is not pleasing." Dr. Ruskin says her patients over 55 years old aren't really interested in companionship unless it's a perfect fit.
Of course, the ideal relationship is one that grows and changes with you. If you're lucky, the man that got your attention in your twenties with his good looks is the same man that makes you laugh in your fifties.