Dating websites and psychological researchers attempt to find those factors that predict the fit between potential romantic partners. Examples for factors taken into consideration are the "big five" dimensions of personality, attractiveness, or hobbies. These factors are found by looking at people in successful versus failed relationships.

When I get to know someone over a long period of time, these factors might be what makes me want to enter a relationship with them, and in fact they might predict how successful a relationship to that person will be. But when I meet a stranger what I find is that none of these factors predict if that spark of attraction will fly. Often, the girls that make me go all slack-jawed and drooling with romantic tunnel vision have little in common with the profile I would create for my ideal partner, while an attractive girl that fulfills all criteria for a successful relationship with me will leave me completely cold.

Is there research into how to predict if one person will spark the romantic interest of another?

I accept opinion, if it is based on careful reflection and does not just contain banalities.


3 Answers 3


You are quite astute to have noticed the difference between your stated preferences and actual preferences - most people don't. Yes, there has been a fair bit of research on prediction techniques and their effectiveness.

In 2008, in a study by Paul Eastwick and Eli Finkel, participants were asked to predict their romantic preferences - what they found attractive in potential mates. The subjects were then followed up on speed dating and other dating behaviour over the following month to see how their actual choices compared with their predictions. The results showed that both men and women have no useful insight into their own romantic preferences that could be used to predict their actual dating choices.

A number of other studies examining a variety of methods for matching dating partners using questionnaires, physical traits, personality characteristics, dating techniques, and other theories of compatibility all failed to find a correlation between people's expressed preferences and actual dating behaviour. Many online dating sites promote their compatibility calculation tools that are based on self-reported preferences, but research so far suggests that none of them do much better than random.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's very interesting, thank you, Arnon. But it seems that one non-self-report measure, that is: facial similarity, did in fact predict mutual attraction. $\endgroup$
    – user3116
    Nov 10, 2014 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, specifically facial dis-similarity was slightly predictive. I also seem to recall a mild correlation suggesting that men like women who are nice to them, and women like tall men. But nothing really significant. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Nov 10, 2014 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ An interesting update: wired.com/story/data-marriage-behavior-love-psychology-romance $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    May 16 at 3:26

In Russia girls love primativity, a term pioneered by ethologists Anatoliy Protopopov and Oleg Novoselov. High promativity means the instincts control the behavior of an individuals, low primativity means the reason rather than instincts guides them.

  • Low primative men are usually engaged in science, invention, innovation and revolutionary activity. All the leading ideologists of all ideologies are low-primative. They usually set up rules which other people follow. If you take Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Richard Stallman, Albert Einstain, Sacher-Masoch and even Adolf Hitler, all of them were low-primative men. Low primative men are either irreligious or set up religions of their own. They are often concerned with the future of the humanity as a whole. Among low primative men there is greater percent of gays and other sexual deviants because the natural instincts are weak. Most of sexual maniacs and mass murderers as well as designers of genocide and wars are low-primative. They are also often involved in mass frauds and high-tech crimes. They usually have no women or their women more resemble their comrades and ugly-looking. They usually do not have kids or only very small number.

  • Medium primative men are those who conforms with the established rules, build carrier, often very religious, conservative, have fimily-oriented values. The majority of peace-time politicians are medium-primative. Medium primative men usually have the quantity of children just above the replacement limit (2–3) and do not hesitate to bring big money to their spouses. They are rarely concerned with the future of humanity but often very patriotic and often intolerant of sexual deviations. After the low primative men make a revolution and establish new rules, they are gradually replaced with medium primative men, who follow those said rules. The most common crimes for medium primative men are corruption and accepting bribes. Medium primative men usually have no hope for free sex, and have to pay big money to women. At the same time they usually have no problem with finding a spouse. They are at high risk of being cheated and divorced though.

  • High primative men are those whose insticts lead the behavior. Most of them are petty criminals, thugs or occupying low-paid positions such as taxi drivers. They have no prospects of making any carrier and even getting a well-paid job. They are often members of various gangs, such as skin-heads, football fans or just local mafia. In school they usually bully other kids. They are often drug addicts or drunkards. The most typical crimes for this group are violent assaults, robberies, drug trade, small scale stealing. They usually start sexual life at very early age, and often have many children whom they do not support. They often originate from families of alone woman who has many kids. Their father is often unknown, dead or imprisoned.

Among these three categories of men it is the third category which is the most desirable for women. High primative men usually have a lot of sex, and never do pay for it. Conversely, it is often women who give them money. According to Novoselov, a woman cannot sincerely fall in love with a low or medium primative man.

The primativity of women is greater on average than that of men, but has less dispersion. Each woman always looks for a man of higher primativity than her own. Women like primativity the same way as men like beauty. Finding a woman who does not like high primative men is as difficult as to find a man who disliked beautiful women. But the parental education and social pressure often presses women towards medium primative men. Such women have very hard time finding a partner that would satisfy their internal desires and social expectations.

Primativity is not a constant thing throughout one’s life. It decreases with age and education. High primative men can simulate low-primative behavior for a while by suppressing their instincts. There is much less methods for rising primativity, though. The following is some advice on how you can behave in high-primative manner.

  • Never tell the woman about your big property, good carrier, education. If asked, say that you cannot find a job now but your friends will help you to get some job

  • Never speak with the woman on philosophical or scientific topics, the future of humanity, global warming, technology etc. The woman should know that you have a lot of friends who respect you and a lot of women who want you.

  • Never tell the woman how your boss/president/Nobel committe respects you. Instead, find friends near your home, make sure they always greet you when see you. It is important to be respected near your place of living.

  • Make your friends and/or strangers always give you cigarettes, beer etc. Do not hesistate to ask. Never buy anything in a company, always strive that your friends buy drinks to your girlfriend at your suggestion.

  • Always underline you have no money. Ask the girl to lend you money or other things. Never return the borrowed, always postpone indefinitely or say you gave it to someone.

  • Invent reasons why you need money, ill mother, friends went to jail and need help etc. The girl should know that you started sexual life early, you have many brothers and sisters, your relatives have been to jail.

  • Never say you do not smoke and/or drink because you decided so or prohibited by parents. Instead say you quit it because your gang forbids it (for better fighting).

  • Steal things from the girl, if discovered say you took it because needed and going to return.

  • Lie to the girl a lot. She should understand that you are lying but never hint it or make joking face. She should see that you can lie convincingly.

  • Behave aggressively occasionally against other men (especially, low-primative). If in danger, do not hesistate to esscape. Women do not despise cowards the way men do. But do not allow yourself being beaten.

  • In every collective find the lowest-primative guy and bully him, organize your friends to help you. If not that far, at least find someone to buy beer for all (after that, you say, the guy will become your friend). Girls respect those who can make others do something for them.

  • If the girl asks you a cigarette, do not give yours, ask strangers for one. Better never carry cigarettes with yourself even if smoking, always ask for.

  • Never tell about your real estate, either owned or rented. Better say you live with your mother, sisters and brothers and you have bad relations with a sister so you do not know what to do.

  • Never say you know how to use a computer. If the girl discovered that you have one, say it was bought for your sister and you do not know how to use it.

According to Oleg Novoselov, Alex Lesley (it is a pseudonym, he is a Russian author) and others, if a woman discovers you have a resourse, she will not give you sex until she gets the resource. If you pay for a woman anywhere, she switches in the “dynamo” mode, that is to eat for your expense, exploit you and go away.

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    $\begingroup$ Any sources to back any of this up? $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Apr 8, 2020 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ you're funny :) $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Oct 27 at 18:45

Dating websites and psychological researchers attempt to find those factors that predict the fit between potential romantic partners.

The very first sentence -- the premise -- of your question is not correct. They do not attempt to find such factors, because their goal is to keep you as a customer for as long as possible, thus paying maximum amounts of money to them, and of course viewing ads and generating content and activity for their service to appear less dead.

They are sadly pure scams.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome. Do you have any reputable sources to back up these claims? I'm not familiar with such sites, but quite frankly I do reckon they try to effectively match up people, otherwise they would lose their customers. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 8, 2020 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm also not certain this answers the actual question at hand, it just questions one of the main premises. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Apr 8, 2020 at 13:28

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