The Crucial Qualities Most Most Men Want in a Partner

The quest for mutual commitment is an old one that continually reinvents itself. While there are many common things men want their partners to know, it’s still tough to pinpoint exactly what they (or anyone) are looking for in a long-term relationship. So we’ve compiled a list of the qualities men say they look for in a partner … and none of them are simply sex.

The findings are part of a study conducted by the University of Iowa every decade since 1939. These seven made the list from “desirable” to “essential” and may surprise you.

Financially sound

A woman looks at a menu.

Financial independence is a turn on. | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Men ranked financial responsibility as a desirable characteristic in a partner. Good financial stability has risen as a sought-after characteristic in recent years. A financial services professional told Elite Daily the number one thing he notices when consulting men on their finances, ” … they are constantly expressing their partner’s financial burdens.”

When taking on a new partner, you also take on their baggage. Make certain that baggage isn’t financial or risk the health of your potential relationship.


Kim Kardashian sits on a white chair with a mic in her hand.

Women like Kim Kardashian, who are beautiful as well as entrepreneurial, are often viewed as attractive and interesting. | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Girls’ Lounge

In addition to supporting your partner’s goals, you should be seeking your own as well. It’s a common misconception that men are intimidated by a woman’s success. So it would be silly to believe that men aren’t seeking a partner with aspirations and values independent of the relationship.

Christine B. Whelan, Ph.D., confirms that the stigma on highly ambitious and independent women is a fallacy. The women she interviewed agreed that the media are on the wrong track in perpetuating the career-driven stereotype, saying the men they dated aren’t intimidated by their ambition.

Good looking

A woman stretches in her bed.

Nothing sexier than a happy, attractive partner. | MangoStar_Studio/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Men ranked good looks as an important, but not essential characteristic they seek in a partner. Physical attraction and chemistry are two key components men and women alike consider when weighing a potential partner.

Psychology Today addresses the subjective nature of physical attraction, noting its “fundamental significance” in the dating game. It’s a simple concept; you don’t want to be with someone that you personally find physically unattractive.


A woman with brown hair looks at a tablet.

Intelligence is always sexy. | Oinegue

Finding a partner who is an intellectual match is vital to a relationship’s success. The UI study found men view intelligence as an important characteristic to consider when entering a relationship.

Intellectual attraction lasts longer than physical attraction. If you’ve ever slept with someone you considered incredibly attractive only to lose interest once the sex stops and conversation starts, it was likely a result of finding them unintelligent, or simply not interesting. Christie Hartman, Ph.D. and relationship expert, reinforces the importance in finding your intellectual equal.

Emotionally stable

Happy businessman smiling while reading his smartphone.

Find someone who is in touch with their emotions. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

Emotional stability is no longer just crucial to your personal health. The UI study reported that the participants ranked this quality as essential in a relationship.

So what does true emotional stability look like? With present-day media constantly focused on humanities’ outbursts of emotional ineptitude, it’s hard to tell. Emotionally stable people value their own happiness in addition to those of the people they care for. They’re in touch with their emotions and are both personally and socially competent.


Two happy affectionate young women hugging each other in a close embrace.

Be someone who is always there for others. | UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

It’s commonly reinforced that women want a partner they can count on, and this study proves that men are no different. The male participants ranked finding a dependable partner as essential.

Nobody who is entering a relationship wants to be cheated on, and exhibiting signs of commitment-phobia may be the reason nothing long-term is working out for you. Men rightfully want someone they can count on to be honest, truthful, and loyal. 

Mutual attraction and love

A woman in bed with her partner as she holds her forehead.

Respect has to be felt equally on both sides. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The highest-ranked quality the studied men were looking for in a partner is simpler than you’d think. If you like them, show them, and expect the same in return.

There are some subtle factors that play a role in why we’re attracted to a specific person. Once you enter a relationship with incredible chemistry and compatibility, be sure to express that attraction and love to keep it as healthy as can be.