4 specific qualities all high-value men look for in a partner, according to psychology

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What do high-value men seek in a partner? 

Well, if popular media had its way, we’d believe that superficial traits top the list. 

But delve a bit deeper into research, and a different narrative emerges—one that may challenge popular stereotypes.

It seems much of what we think we know might stem from what men want in short-term partners rather than long-term ones. 

And you might be surprised how similar they are to what women want in a partner. At least – I was surprised. It seems we’re not that different after all!

Anyway, here are four specific qualities all high-value men look for in a partner, according to psychology. 

1) Ambition 

Here’s one that might surprise some. A lady’s career aspirations matter to men. 

In a 2018 survey, almost 56% of men ranked this very important in a long-term partner. 

Other research would seem to back this up. In a 2008 survey on the same topic, “Ambition and Industriousness” came in as the tenth most important thing men wanted in a wife. 

Dare I say, this seems to go against much of what we see online: that men are intimated by strong, ambitious women and want a submissive wife who stays at home and doesn’t work.  

So, why would a man want his partner to be ambitious?

It seems simply that many men respect and are attracted to women who aspire to achieve their own goals. It reveals a deeper appreciation for partnership and mutual growth rather than traditional gender roles.

As surprising as this may be, though, it only came in at number five on the list. 

The top four are perhaps even more surprising, as you will learn. 

2) Intelligence & education

Coming in at number three and number four, respectively, were intelligence and education. 

More specifically, intelligence was found to be much more important, with almost 85% choosing this as very important compared to just 72% for education. 

What’s interesting is that it seems these traits are really climbing the ranks in what men want in a long-term partner. As noted by Forbes, way back in 1939, this came in at number eleven, and in 2008, it came in at number 4 on the list of things men wanted in a wife. 

Interestingly, women choose the exact same things as men at numbers three and four(for long-term partners).

It begs the question, why do we value these traits so much? 

Well, it might be because intelligence and education often correlate with better communication skills. They also lead to a deeper understanding of the world. 

Additionally, they enhance the capacity to contribute to conversations and decision-making in a relationship. This can enhance mutual respect and strengthen the partnership.

3) Supportiveness

Coming as in a close runner up, almost 85% of men said this was very important in a long-term partner.

This high valuation on supportiveness underscores the importance men place on emotional availability and mutual support within relationships. 

It suggests that beyond any materialistic or superficial qualities, the ability to be there for each other, to offer encouragement in challenging times, and to be a cheerleader for one another’s endeavors is critical in sustaining long-term connections.

4) Kindness 

And here we are, at the trait men most want in a long-term partner: kindness. 

A whopping 85% of men classed this as very important in the survey. 

Is that what you expected? 

It wasn’t what I expected, if I’m honest. 

Experts like Samantha Stein, a licensed Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, seem to agree, though. As she noted in a Psychology Today post, “Communication, kindness, and appreciation are three simple ingredients for building a couple’s level of intimacy.”

It suggests that men are seeking partners who will be gentle, understanding, and fundamentally good-hearted, which can create a nurturing and positive home environment.

A few other, perhaps surprising, things you’ll want to know 


Perhaps surprisingly, nearly 43% of men indicated that sexual experience is not crucial, while about 16% considered it very important in a long-term partner.

This contrast reveals a split in perspectives where physical intimacy is concerned, possibly indicating that for many men, emotional connection takes precedence over sexual history or experience in long-term commitments.

As you might have guessed, sexual experience was, however, more important for men when seeking a short-term partner – almost a third of men said it was important. 

Only a third?

Yep, only a third. 

In contrast, a much higher percentage of women (59%) said this was important in a short-term partner. 

Men value appearance a lot more in short-term partners

While appearance did not feature in the top five things men want in a long-term partner, the study gives us some insight into what men want in this respect. 

It was found that the traits that were desirable in a long-term partner were an attractive smile, attractive eyes, average breasts, average buttocks, and long hair, respectively. 

That being said, physical features were very important for men when seeking short-term partners. Almost 70% of men said both an attractive body and an attractive face were very important in short-term partners. They also preferred large buttocks.

I know, disgusting, right? 

Well, maybe.

Women aren’t so different in this respect. For short-term partners, 68% of women ranked an attractive face as very important, followed closely by an attractive body at 65%. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost 90% of women would prefer a short-term partner who is taller than them. 

What can we take away from this?

Overall, men and women desire very similar things in long-term partners. 

In fact, four out of the five most desirable traits were the same for men and women. Both men and women want a partner who is kind, supportive, intelligent, and educated. 

However, there are some big differences in what people, both men and women, want from short-term partners.

I hope what I’ve shared here empowers you to better align your dating strategies with your relationship goals. 

Until next time.

Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business.

As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys.

In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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