Chapter 6 Mate Selection
Chapter 6: Mate SelectionChapter Outline • Cultural Aspects of Mate Selection • Sociological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • Psychological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • Sociobiological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • Engagement • Factors which Suggest You Might Delay or Call off the Wedding • The Future of Selecting a Partner
Chapter 6: Mate SelectionIntroduction • True or False? • Persons who participate in a premarital education program show no benefits in relationship quality when compared with nonparticipants.
Chapter 6: Mate SelectionIntroduction • Answer: FALSE • Research shows that the average participant in a premarital prevention program experienced about a 30% increase in measures of outcome success. They were more likely than nonparticipants to experience immediate and short-term gains in interpersonal skills and overall relationship quality.
Chapter 6: Mate SelectionIntroduction • Quote: “It really doesn’t matter who you marry since you are sure to find out you married someone else.” • Discussion: • What do you see as the main criteria when searching for a mate? Why?
Cultural Aspects of Mate Selection • Fewer than 1% of persons marry someone outside their race. • Independent of sexual orientation, two forms of cultural pressure operative in mate selection are: • Endogamy: Expectation to marry within one’s social group. • Exogamy: Expectation to marry outside one’s own family group.
Sociological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • The homogamy theory of mate selection states that we tend to be attracted to and become involved with those who are similar to us in age, race, religion, and social class. • The more couples have in common, the higher the reported relationship satisfaction and the more durable the relationship.
Sociological Factors Operative in Mate SelectionHomogamy: 14 Factors • Race • Age • Education • Open-Mindedness • Social Class • Physical Appearance • Marital status • Religion/Spirituality • Attachment • Personality • Circadian Preference • Traditional Roles • Geographic Background • Economic Values, Money Management, and Debt
Sociological Factors Operative in Mate SelectionHomogamy • Homogamy operates almost without awareness. • This couple reports, “we love each other”…but they are also of the same race, age, education, social class, and religious background.
Sociological Factors Operative in Mate SelectionHomogamy • Although most undergraduates are open to dating outside their race, marrying someone of another race is rare for them. • In a sample of 2,922 undergraduates, 35% of females and 30% of males reported that they had dated interracially. But as noted in the national data, only about 10% marry interracially.
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionComplimentary Needs Theory • States that we select mates whose needs are opposite and complementary to our own • Questions raised about this theory: • Can personality needs be met outside the relationship? • What is a complementary need as opposed to a similar value? • Could a dependent person develop confidence and no longer need to be with a dominant person?
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionExchange Theory • Mate selection is based on who offers the greatest rewards at the lowest cost: • Rewards: Behaviors and resources that influence you to continue the relationship • Cost: Unpleasant aspects of the relationship • Profit: When rewards exceed costs • Loss: When costs exceed rewards • Alternative: Does another person offer a higher profit margin?
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionRole Theory and Attachment Theory • Role Theory of Mate Selection is a theory that focuses on the social learning of roles. A son or daughter models after the parent of the same sex by selecting a partner similar to the one the parent selected. • Attachment Theory of Mate Selection developed early in the reference to one’s parents, the drive toward an intimate, social/emotional connection.
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionPositive Assortative Personality Mating • Positive Assortative Personality Mating refers to individuals who sort each other out on the basis of similar personality characteristics. • Desirable Personality Characteristics of a Potential Mate: In a study of 700 undergraduates, both men and women reported that personality characteristics of being warm, kind, and open and having a sense of humor were very important to them in selecting a romantic or sexual partner.
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionPositive Assortative Personality Mating • Undesirable Personality Characteristics of a Potential Mate: • Controlling • Narcissistic • Poor Impulse Control • Hypersensitive • Inflated Ego • Perfectionistic • Insecure • Controlled • Substance Abuser
Psychological Factors Operative In Mate SelectionPersonality Types Problematic in a Potential Partner
Sociobiological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • Men and women select mates on the basis of their concern for producing offspring. • Men look for a young, healthy, attractive, sexually conservative woman who will produce healthy children and take care of them. • Women look for an ambitious man with good economic capacity who will invest resources in her children.
Sociobiological Factors Operative in Mate Selection • Criticisms: • Women show concern for the earning capacity of men because they have been denied access to similar economic resources. • Both women and men think about their partners more as companions than as future parents of their offspring.
Engagement “A happy wife sometimes has the best husband, but more often makes the best of the husband she has.” -Unknown • Engagement: Time in which the romantic partners are sexually monogamous, committed to marry, and focused on wedding preparations.
EngagementPremarital Counseling • Some clergy require one or more sessions of premarital counseling as a prerequisite to agreeing to marry the couple. • In addition to seeing a counselor or completing self-help tests, many individuals get advice from friends, parents, and religious leaders.
EngagementVisiting Your Partner’s Parents • If you want to know what your partner may be like in the future, look at his or her parent of the same sex. • If you want to know how your partner is likely to treat you in the future, observe the way your partner’s parent of the same sex treats and interacts with his or her spouse.
EngagementPremarital Education Programs and Counseling • Some premarital couples attend the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP). • Couples who learn how to communicate and negotiate conflict are less likely than a control group to divorce or separate. • They also report greater marital satisfaction, fewer conflicts, and less physical violence.
EngagementPrenuptial Agreement • Designed to specify how property will be divided if the marriage ends in divorce or by the death of one partner. • Reasons for a prenuptial agreement: • Protecting assets for children from a prior relationship • Protecting business associates
Engagement • Food for thought… • Discussion: What are some disadvantages of signing a prenuptial agreement?
Factors that Suggest You Might Delay or Call off the Wedding • Age 18 or Younger • Individuals who marry in their teens have a greater risk of divorce. • Known Partner Less Than Two Years • Partners who date at least two years before getting married report the highest level of marital satisfaction.
Factors that Suggest You Might Delay or Call off the Wedding • Abusive Relationship • Partners who emotionally and/or physically abuse their partners while dating continue this in marriage. • High Frequency of Negative Comments/Low Frequency of Positive Comments • Individuals who criticize each other end up damaging their relationship in a way which does not make it easy for positives to recover.
Factors that Suggest You Might Delay or Call off the Wedding • Numerous Significant Differences • Persons who report the greatest degree of satisfaction in relationships have a great deal in common. • On-and-Off Relationship • Couples who routinely break up and get back together should examine the issues that recur in their relationship.
Factors that Suggest You Might Delay or Call off the Wedding • Dramatic Parental Disapproval • If the parents of either partner disapprove of their child’s choice of spouse, the partners should try to evaluate these concerns objectively. • Low Sexual Satisfaction • Sexual satisfaction is linked to relationship satisfaction, love, and commitment.
Marrying for the Wrong Reason • Examples include: • Rebound • Escape • Unplanned pregnancy • Psychological blackmail • Insurance benefits • Pity • Filling a void
Whether to Continue or End a Relationship • Rhoades, et al. (2010) identified four factors involved in whether a person continues or ends a relationship. • Dedication • Perceived constraints • Material constraints • Feeling trapped
Selecting Partners in the Future • The future of selecting a lifetime partner will involve the increased use of Internet dating sites. • Hence, in addition to meeting the “old-fashioned way,” individuals will be logging on and fishing in the online pool.
Quick Quiz • The cultural expectation to find a mate within one's social group is called: • homogamy • exogamy • monogamy • endogamy
Quick Quiz • Which scenario best describes complementary needs theory? • selection of mates with opposite values • selection of mates with similar looks • selection of mates with similar values • selection of mates with different looks
Quick Quiz • Which of the following emphasizes that people select partners who offer the greatest benefits at the least cost? • profit margin • complimentary needs theory • exchange theory • principle of least interest
Quick Quiz • Sociobiology: • proposes that behavior in selecting mates is reduced to environmental factors • makes scientific inquiry into the notion that men are attracted to younger women and women are attracted to men with money • discredits Charles Darwin's natural selection theory • goes against traditional stereotypes of American culture
Quick Quiz • In a comparing couples who have gone through pre-marital counseling versus those who have not, pre-marital counseling has been shown to have which of the following effects on a marriage? • either more positive or more negative, depending on the dynamics of the couple • negative • positive • none at all