Fewer People Than You Think Put Looks First When Choosing A Partner

Relationships can be hard. And the pressure to find "The One" is enough to drive some people up a wall. When it takes longer than they think it should, it can drive people to doubt everything about themselves from their interests to their job to the way they look.

Conventional wisdom — and more than a few movies — tell us that our looks are the most important thing when we want to find a partner. Makeover shows have been wildly popular for years and social media only seems to add fuel to the fire. But we here at Health Digest weren't so sure that the obsession with appearance was warranted. There are so many things that go into a lasting relationship. Given the feedback we get from our readers, we were sure that looks wouldn't reign supreme if we asked people to vote. So that's exactly what we did.

We polled our readers and asked them to vote on the thing they look for first in a partner. Appearance was only one of seven options our readers could choose from. The other six were humor, communication, trust, honesty, thoughtfulness, and 'Other' which allowed them to write in their own top priority. More than 500 readers responded and the results, frankly, will surprise you.

How our readers voted

Most of the time when we poll our readers, the answers get a pretty even spread. But not this time. When it comes to the most important trait in a partner, half of the votes went to two answers. And neither was 'physical attractiveness'. Our readers look first for a partner that is honest or one that trusts them. Given the impact relationships can have on your health, our readers are onto something. Trusting your partner — and having that trust returned — are keys to maintaining healthy communication.

And communication, as it turns out, was the third most important thing, followed by a sense of humor. Better Health Channel, a public health page run by the government in Victoria, Australia, explains that clear communication is absolutely vital in relationships. It helps avoid misunderstandings while ensuring everyone's needs are being met. And, when done right, it can reduce the pain that sometimes comes with arguments and fights since lashing out is less likely when the people involved have healthy communication skills.

Physical attractiveness ranked fifth on our list. The only options coming in beneath it were thoughtfulness and 'Other' — which, as with many of our polls, was largely made of write-ins similar "all of the above". So the next time you're looking for a partner or getting ready for a first date, rest assured that your haircut probably isn't going to be a deal breaker. Listening, communicating, and being honest are far more important.