The 2 Traits Both Men And Women Find Most Desirable In Each Other — And It's Not Good Looks Or Money

Most people looking for love search for these core traits.

Happy couple who find each other desirable - Yuri A / Shutterstock

It isn’t easy to find a partner you can rely on — someone who makes you feel safe, fulfilled, and happy.

Modern dating is full of horror stories, yet it turns out that focusing your search on finding someone with two specific personality traits increases your chances of having a stable, successful partnership.

Both men and women find 2 traits the most desirable — and it’s not looks or money.

A research study out of Brazil surveyed people between 18 and 64, asking them to rate the traits they found most attractive in potential partners. The traits included physical appearance, health, socioeconomic status, intelligence, and kindness.


What researchers discovered might surprise you: Physical attractiveness and wealth rated lower on the scale of what’s important in a potential partner than other key personality traits. 

Happy couple hugging Branislav Nenin / Shutterstock

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Of the 778 cis-gendered participants, kindness and intelligence were the most prized traits across all genders and sexual orientations. 

A person’s wealth was the least important factor in seeking out romance for both heterosexual men and women. 

Although men tend to prioritize looks more than women, overall, physical attractiveness is still prioritized less than being a kind, thoughtful person.

Researchers noticed that there was a diminishing pattern of returns for both wealth and appearance within the study. After a certain threshold of attractiveness and income, people placed less emphasis on those traits and more on kindness and intelligence.


There were some marked differences between what people prioritized depending on whether they were looking for a long-term partnership or a short-term one. People seeking a long-term relationship were more likely to prioritize kindness and intelligence.

Happy older couple embracing pikselstock / Shutterstock

Yet psychologist Joao Francisco Goes Braga Takayanagi, who headed the study, noted that “working on your brains and personality seems to be your best bet” if you’re hoping to attract a partner, no matter what.


He noted that “choosing a romantic partner is a very ordinary but also extremely intriguing process.” He explained that while we might know right away if we’re attracted to someone, we might not know the exact reasons why, “or even if that attraction is any proof that they will be a good match for us.”

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The universal emphasis on kindness and intelligence shows these core traits, both rooted in empathy and compassion, hold the most weight in a relationship.

Having a high level of emotional intelligence is important for keeping romance alive in any kind of partnership.

Other expert perspectives supported the idea that being an empathic and open-minded person makes you more attractive to others.


Therapist Jeff Guenther shared important traits to look for in a life partner, noting that a person who makes you feel seen and heard, even when you’re fighting, is someone who respects and values you overall.

“Does it feel like they want to find the solution and repair the disconnect? Huge green flags,” he said.

Guenther explained why dating someone who makes you feel good about yourself, at your core, is so important, saying, “It’s not so much how you feel about them, although that matters. It’s more about how you feel about yourself when you hang around them.”


“Do you like the version of you that shows up?” he asked. “Do you feel authentic and free?”

Guenther’s final trait centered around being kind. He believes that finding a kind partner is essential because “You deserve to be with a nice person.”

Author and relationship coach Matthew Hussey also explained why kindness and compassion are so important.

He listed kindness, empathy, and compassion as the top traits of a great partner.

@thematthewhussey Do you agree? Let me know what you value the most in relationships!#MatthewHussey #Dating #datingadvice #relationshipgoals #standards ♬ The Wisp Sings - Winter Aid

“Someone who shows up for you in a consistent way … They care about my day and the challenges in my life and want to support me in those,” he said in his description of a great partner. 


He also emphasized that being a great communicator is a hugely important trait in a partner. In many ways, it comes down to whether someone can listen openly while understanding why you feel the way you do.

Having empathy means you’re able to recognize and understand someone else’s emotions — a critical element of maintaining any long-lasting relationship. An empathic partner allows people to feel valued in their relationships and understood for exactly who they are, which is essentially what we’re looking for by connecting with someone else.

In the end, it’s not about what color your hair is or what kind of car you drive. It’s more important to show up for others and center compassion as a key part of your relationship. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.