Over the past year, I have been writing a book about the science of making relationships work. My working title is How Not to Fuck Up Your Life. The Art and Science of Finding the Right Partner —and Being the Right Partner — to Create a Lasting, Happy Relationship. I’m currently seeking an agent or publisher to take on my book.
Why would a guy like me write a book like this? Well, I’m tired of reading all the mindless nonsense that is based on anecdotal information, outdated research and prophesy. I’m a psychologist that works with couples and I needed to find real information that I could sink my teeth into that made sense so I can help others. Plus, I’m a pretty happy guy and I love my wife but I’m still a man with man qualities that can destroy a relationship. Although I work hard and play hard, I am messy, I use profanity, sometimes I’m selfish, and I often don’t understand my wife and my kids – yes, despite being an actual psychologist. I wanted to figure out why is my relationship is lasting when so many others are not.
We Americans have high hopes for our marriages. Eighty-six percent of 18 to 29-year-olds expect marriage to last a lifetime but only 52 % of women and 56 % of men will remain married for 20 years. Ouch.
I’ve examined the evolutionary psychological research as well as other psychological, social and medical journals about what leads to relationship satisfaction and success. Together – along with my clinical and forensic experiences working with thousands of families and individuals – I have found there is a collection of universal factors that greatly determine one’s mate value and couple compatibility. Certainly, individual differences and preferences are limitless and continue to evolve but in 2021, there remains generally a clear preference for certain traits for both gay and straight couples – regardless of origin or nationality. It’s the balance of these traits possessed by each partner that determine compatibility and determine whether a relationship will be both satisfying and successful.
As I have been writing about the science and art of mate selection, what evolved – no pun intended – was a collection of universal factors that I converted into two assessments. One to determine your personal mate value on the dating market or in your relationship and the other to determine couple compatibility. With this information, I intend to help you gain a better appreciation of where you stand in the dating pool and identify what you can do to improve your mate value to attract more quality mates or make your current mate happier with you. These assessments will improve your current relationship by identifying areas that need growth and to give couples struggling with incompatibility – those attempting to force a square peg into a round hole – the strength to end their relationship and free each other to be with someone more compatible and thus, fulfilling to them.
The bottom line is that for relationships to work successfully, partners must be compatible based on their mutual mate values and certain personality qualities shared by both or at least one.
20 Mate Value Factors
Being ambitious & industrious
Having a conscientious & reliable personality
Having a secure attachment style
Psychological health–Being free from mental illness (or being willing to address it with a professional)
Having a healthy level of self-esteem
An agreeable personality
Commitment–Pursuing a long-term mating strategy
Education & Status
Physical Health–Having facial symmetry
Strength and fertility–Having a V-shaped torso (men) or a waist-hip ratio of .70 (women)
Having your own place to live
Having a job
Having a reliable means of transportation
Openness to new experiences
Being low on neuroticism
Height and youthfulness–Being tall (men) or exhibiting signs of fertility like youthfulness in comparison to others the same age (women)
Sense of humor
If you would like to take Dr. D’Arienzo’s Mate Value Assessment, consider taking one of his Premarital Courses or his Marriage & Relationship Tune Up Course. Dr. D’Arienzo’s Mate Value Assessment is currently included in those courses and will be released with his book’s publication.
Check back for our list of Compatibility Factors that make intimate relationships successful.
Dr. D’Arienzo (transcription): We’re going to be bold together, and I’m going to tell you about some things that maybe you’re not going to like to hear that may sound controversial but I’m going to tell you things that are based on the science about what determines your mate value your value in the relationship and your value in the dating pool okay and I know that a lot of you are sensitive to some of the stuff, and this is not about how it should be, this is about how it is. I live in the real world and how it is, so I need you to be brave. I need you to be bold and I’m going to walk you through these factors these traits, these qualities, that enhance one’s mate value.
Let’s remember that we all want the best partner that we can get so we’re going to help you maximize your mate value, but first we’ve got to identify what’s most important for you to have or maybe you need to adjust or improve.
Ambition and industry. So it’s really important if you’re a man to have both of those traits. To have high mate value, you need to work hard. You need to have high ambitions. If you’re a woman on the other hand, what’s most important for you is to be industrious or to be a hard worker. Let’s imagine. This is about both of you and what kind of partners you’re going to be. Are you going to be hard working? Are you going to be supporting the family? Are you going to be career oriented? Are you going to be good at taking care of children? Are you going to be good at taking care of the relationship and getting odds and ends done?
Being kind is really important. Kindness is an indicator about your level of commitment and how you’re going to treat your partner and whether you’re going to be a good caretaker of your children.
And for men and women, it’s important for both of you to have that trait conscientiousness and reliability. These are not just important traits for employment. Those traits really indicate whether somebody follows through, and it’s really important in a relationship that you have somebody that gets things done right and that is not full of empty promises.
Secure attachment style. So this is really important in a relationship. What this means also is that somebody is low on neuroticism. They’re not easily slighted. They’re calm. They can manage their stress well. They don’t necessarily think that everything is about them. So if you are calm, relaxed and an easy going person that means you’re low on neuroticism and that’s a good thing.
Another factor that impacts you is having a history of mental illness. Now it doesn’t necessarily ding you completely. I mean let’s be realistic. About half of us at some point in our life will be seeking some type of professional psychological assistance. So that’s okay, so you know, I’m talking to about half of us out there. So it doesn’t necessarily ding you. What dings you is when you’re not getting help for yourself. The big risk factor when it comes to mental illness in terms of lowering your mate value, is when you suffer from depression or substance abuse, because you can imagine how those things weigh heavily on a relationship.
Self-esteem, another key ingredient to having good mate value. If you have high self-esteem, you can make good decisions. You are not indecisive and you feel good about yourself and you’re not looking for that person to lick every wound of yours and to build you up all the time.
Agreeableness, a really important trait. So you can imagine in relationships. There is often a lot of conflict. There is a lot of things that happen in life, so it is really important that you are an agreeable person. That means that you can manage conflict and you get along to go along.
Intelligence, a really important factor. So cross-culturally, seeking somebody that is above average intelligence is important and it’s interesting that in the past it wasn’t as important for men (to have this trait) but as women are becoming more educated, it is becoming more important for men (to be more intelligent) and for women especially educated professional women intelligence is becoming even more important to them.
Long-term mating strategy (Commitment). If you have a long-term mating strategy that enhances your value because both parties that are looking to settle down are looking for the same thing and it’s an indicator of your faithfulness and your longevity within the relationship.
Education and status, more important factors. So education and status are more important still for a man to possess in terms of enhancing their mate value but if you’re a woman, it’s not as important but often partners do seek a good match regarding status level.
All cultures around the world greatly value facial symmetry. What that is, a indicator of is overall healthiness.
Having your own place to live. So why is that important. This is an indicator of your level of independence and your maturity.
Having a job, another indicator of your level of independence and the in your intelligence and status and things of that nature.
Having reliable means of transportation unless you are in an urban area and people rely on public transportation. It’s an indicator that you are self-reliant and you’re not going to suck all the blood out of your partner.
Extroversion, an important trait and this really means that you’re comfortable in a social setting. With extroversion you don’t have to prefer it, but you have to be able to do it. You have to be able to go into a crowded room with people and meet people and talk to people and network. It’s really important, and if you think about like what this does from an evolutionary perspective, it’s you know, it’s bringing people together, it’s your ability to acquire provisions and provide for a family, man or woman. Now the problem is with extroversion, if there’s too much extroversion though, that can be an issue because those that are overly extroverted tend to stray because they’re often high on sensation seeking and having different experiences.
All right, so here is something that I’m a little challenged about but, being tall, meaning six feet. I mean believe it or not, eighty percent of women are seeking men online that are at least six feet. So I’m five ten, not six feet. You know, the good thing is though that other things can compensate for that and then for a woman having a youthful appearance or look, it’s a sign of fertility and men are certainly attracted to that just like women are attracted to this tall person with a V-shaped torso that is strong and protective.
Sense of humor. It’s a sign of intelligence and it’s also an indicator of being able to manage conflict better.
There you have it!
You know, if I could have you have three takeaways. What’s most important from from this lesson today is there are two qualities that are unattractive whether you are a man or woman, laziness and stinginess. You need to make sure you avoid both of those at all costs. If you’re lazy or stingy, you better get some help for that. You better fix that today and then the other thing that’s really important that destroys relationships is when people are neurotic. Okay, if you’re neurotic it means you’re like worrying all the time, you’re second guessing yourself, you think everything’s about you, you’re easily slighted. You got to get that fixed.
So I know that some of the stuff was difficult for you guys to hear. I know that some of you are arguing and are angry and you’re fuming and you want to make a bunch of negative comments to me, but that’s okay. I can take it. I have thick skin. Okay, be bold. We’re going to do this together.
We’re going to help you maximize you so you can maximize the partner that you’re with.