Time for Talk Tuesday. M3 has featured some of the original reasons we are attracted to Mate and how that attraction begins. How is it we move from those things we initially find attractive to the qualities which keep us in a relationship for a lifetime? This is your chance to talk back!

If you took the survey, you were introduced to some of the initial attractants which get Mates together. If you did not, weigh in with your choice now.

As you can see from the results here (or in the comprehensive results from the poll and the offsite survey), intelligence tops the list of initial attractants. Does that mean no-so-smart people never find Mates or they are doomed to marriage with someone else who is equally not-so-smart?

First Things First

You would be hard pressed to find someone who was not physically attracted to Mate in the beginning stage of the relationship. They may not admit it, but the chemical attraction was there. That overwhelming feeling of a warm heart is the intense in love feeling. Most couples report it lasts about seven to eight months. Is that when they fall out of love?


Ironically, no. They do not fall out of love, provided they actually fell in love…are not just bound by the chemical attraction. During the initial attraction, attachment occurs. The couple get close to one another, and each Mate invests emotional capital in the other. As the chemicals recede, the brain reengages the critical assessment mechanism (social judgment). You begin to see Mate for all of the other qualities, not just the initial ones.


First impressions are revealed as merely perceptions. You discover the aptitude Mate has in quantum theory does not extend to replacing the toilet roll on the empty spindle. You become more critical of the original things which attracted you to Mate, but you are also weighing other qualities.

Elderly Couple

This will be you one day.

You were not originally attracted to Mate’s parenting skills. As you contemplate the longevity of your relationship, you realize the way Mate treats children is endearing. You find this is not only an asset for the time when you have your own children, but also represents the way Mate will likely treat you in periods of need (when you will appear more childlike).

This quality moves to replace some of the irritation created by being perched on the bowl without loo paper. (Do note the use of the word some.)


When you first began dating, Mate’s ability to be practical went against the chemically-induced spontaneity of a budding relationship. If you managed to get past the initial irritation of a Mate who wanted to plan a spontaneous trip to a neighboring town for the weekend, you may well now appreciate that level of practicality.


While every relationship needs some spontaneity to create whimsy and fun, it still has the need for some business decisions…like budgeting and scheduling. When you are saving money for your first house, you find Mate’s practical ability to spend schedule vacations which do not break the bank amazingly attractive.

Pragmatism, Wisdom & Problem Solving

When the only thing you were having was a conniption because you could not get a co-worker to take your shift so you and Mate could go to the amazing concert 150 miles away this weekend, you could not appreciate Mate’s ability to say, “There will be other concerts.”

But, honey, he needs me!

This lack of emotional investment made you angry because you saw Mate’s tranquil attitude as demeaning the value you placed on sharing the event. In a few more years, when Mate effectively argues against the adoption of an alpaca as a suburban backyard pet, you may well appreciate Mate’s ability to separate the emotion from the impractical reaction to seeing the poor thing in need of someone like you to care for it.

One thing which never seems to emerge in the beginnings of relationships is epic battle situations which surface with regularity over the course of marriage. In your haze, you abandon negative emotions and withstand trial much better. Once it wears away, you see the long-reaching implications of some things you accepted during courtship, like toxic relationships with Quaint or siblings.

Having Mate be able to identify problematic people in your lives and devise an exit strategy is a quality which should never be undervalued.

Wise Old Owl

Shrewd Owl

Wisdom is associated with experience. While you may have frowned on any mention of Mate’s past, especially that of Mate’s past relationships, you come to value the wisdom of failed ventures, near misses and past successes. You learn the benefit of Mate having learned what not to do in your relationship.

Wisdom can also include common sense. It has been a long standing debate that common sense is innate, instinctual. Because wisdom leads to better reactionary choices, one can argue common sense is a combination of instinct and the practice of making wise choices. Do you want a Mate who can come in out of the rain?


Someone needs to know how to handle it.

If you were not initially attracted to Mate’s bank balance, you will certainly be quickly acquainted with Mate’s ability to handle money responsibly. Whether Mate is the one making (or having inherited) the money or the one charged with handling the assets (home, car, children), money will affect your relationship.

The ability to handle money responsibly is a necessity to a successful relationship. Most couples complain of fighting about finances. Money is cited in many cases for divorce, although, in reality, money was not the issue. Ironically, lack of money was also not the issue. Irresponsible handling of money was the issue.

Mates do not want to financially struggle for the longevity of marriage. The stability created by steady employment and money flow alleviates worries for the future and helps soften the blow of unexpected expenses, like accidents.

Your Turn

Think back to the initial qualities which caused the initial attraction to Mate (or the qualities you are seeking in a Mate):

What was the question?

Always with the questions...

  1. How much different are those qualities to the ones you want Mate to have in the long run?
  2. What other qualities does Mate need to have to last a lifetime?
  3. If you had one quality you wish your Mate had, what would it be?
  4. How do the differences in the qualities you and Mate possess make your relationship work?
  5. Why is it necessary for our attractants to evolve?

Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.


As is our custom, tonight’s post went live at 1900 EDT (GMT-5), so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished! If you would like to cover a specific topic with the M3 Readers, feel free to use the inbox.

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer

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Reblogging of this or any other post on Momma’s Money Matters is expressly forbidden. 
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  1. I guess that one has to have a lot of patience in a long lasting relationship Red, and as this is noted down as a virtue we should not forget about this one, indeed over a lifetime one does need to have that ability, unless you know different of course? 🙂 lol

    I am just kidding, but there will be lots of speculation on what one requires for a long term partnership if it is to last the years of time and I would imagine that this ‘Talk Tuesday’ will be as far ranging as all the others that you have offered here on your Space, and it is very interesting in that it keeps your readership on their toes and offers the opening for debate…

    I missed your last ‘Talk Tuesday’ my great friend and I will be going for my morning coffee shortly, but I just wanted to show that I am engrossed in what you have been adding and to of course to further encourage you in whatever is coming up on the agenda next, put it this way, I always know that it is going to be a very good read when I call in here 🙂

    Have a wonderful rest of evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Thank you for those lovely thoughts, Andro. This one really is an exercise in patience. What has me wondering is how to determine what portion goes in which tray on the scale. Is it putting the matter and antimatter in one tray and balancing it with another set or is it all of the bad weighed against the good? Somehow, I find the whole thing smacks of finding balance, but our typical way of measuring screams imbalance.

      Or maybe I just need a glass of wine and to not think of it quite so hard…

      • I think about it like this Red, if both parties are happy with whatever each partner does then there is a chemistry for a lot of delightfully exquisite love and wickedness all rolled into one, and that goes for every dicipline, and if the most obvious one is electric, then what an exquisite relationship it really is my great friend…

        Have a lovely rest of evening and do open a bottle of your favourite wine, Red of course 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  2. I am one who did not like my mate when I first met him. Those things I did not like, I still do not like! Eventually, however we became friends and I saw beyond those things (same for him).

    At some point, lifetime love becomes a commitment. The feelings part will come and go. Both parties will change. Life itself will change. There are different seasons in marriage, and it takes some stick-to-it-iveness.

    It also takes character. If one mate cannot be faithful or believes its ok to abuse, this will chip away at and destroy the relationship.

    Qualities: same faith(expresses in different ways); love of family; acceptance; willing to do the daily grind stuff; occasional spontenaity; character ( and that means sometimes being a character); STRONG SENSE of HUMOR!!!; willing to sacrifice out of love, not duty; …

    In the young years (before mate) I was attracted to different things– looks to a degree, but mostly how I felt with him. Took a bad, short first marriage to make me appreciate the guy who would become mate. He gets up every day and goes to work to provide for us. He takes care of us in many ways, he loves, he gives, … Those are the things I try to teach my daughter to look for. Those are the things that make me glad he chose me (well most days ;).

    • So, for you, you never really evolved from the things you did not like about him, but instead, chose to outweigh them with the things you did like. You really believe the feelings come and go?

      You know I am going to tell you never tolerate abuse…It is who I am.

      I am curious about the sacrifice out of love not duty… I understand the grudgingly doing something because someone told you you had to do it (guessing that is the duty part), but what I do not understand is how that applies to Mate. Personally, I cannot think of anything I would not do willingly for Mate.

  3. Definitely there has to be physical attraction, at least at the start. But you’re right – It’s not enough to make a relationship last.

    On top of my list would be intelligence. I’m a very cerebral person who loves to read, and I don’t think i would last in a relationship where I couldn’t talk about my thoughts and ideas with my partner.

    I first met my wife many years ago just before making a trip/pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She was the travel agent assigned to take care of my travel documents. The first time we met we were supposed to meet only for a few minutes to fill out personal information about myself in my travel documents. The meeting lasted for 3-4 hours!

    She was one of the most interesting persons I’ve met. And one thing I liked about her is that she could carry a good and intelligent conversation – which I love! In fact, we spent a significant amount of time talking about books. It turned out there were some books that we both liked.

    I remember her talking about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although the book was marketed as a business leadership book, we discovered that we both liked it because of its emphasis on character as the basis of true success in any area of life – even in relationships.

    Now that we are married the conversation still continues… 🙂 One of the best parts of our day is when we talk to each other. I love it also when we discuss ideas and even argue about it (in a good way). I couldn’t imagine myself being married to a person who can’t match me intellectually.

    ~ Matt

    • Which makes me still wonder, Matt, if the not-so-smart people are doomed. Truly character is the part of the relationship which cannot be neglected. You speak of the similarities. Do the differences make you a yin-yang or repel like magnets?

      There is a reason intelligence is at the top. More than one, actually.

      • The truism that opposites attract applies to our relationship.

        I’m an introvert, she’s an extrovert. I like to be alone most of the time, she likes being with people. I’m serious by nature, she’s funny.

        Our differences, though sometimes is a source of irritation in our relationship, is actually what makes our relationship strong. We complement and supplement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

        Besides, it would be very boring if both of us were exactly the same… 🙂

        ~ Matt

        • Amen to that! Except, in my case, if Mate were just like me, I am thinking explosive would be more accurate 😉

  4. Sorry I got distracted by shiny things on fb! Yes, feelings, by their very nature, come and go. Real love has a feeling aspect, but it is much more than a feeling.

    You said the point. Some people do for mate at times out of duty, but that should not be the reason to do it. Point-my mate loves a back scratch–no, he loves MY back scratches. This is not my favorite thing to do, but I do it because it makes him happy. I could do it because I want something, or because I feel I have to. Those things lead to resentment. I do it because I love him and he loves it.

    Btw–no abuse tolerated here as well. I don’t believe an incidence of abuse( dependent on type and severity) has to be the end of a marriage though. IF– abuser leaves and get real help. 2strikes and you’re out though. Some ppl who abuse (not hitting) can become great mates if they are forces to get help– not enabling– serious help with proof of change before being allowed to entertain returning to mate. Chronic a users (not a one time abberation) should not get a second chance at all. You can tell when someone is a chronic abuser because they make excuse and follow a pattern of abuse and sorry… Hope that makes sense lol.

    • I understand your scenario of abuse, although, after years of helping others with abuse, and having traveled the road myself, I have never once met an abuser (by definition a repeat offender) who only does it once. You may have to turn over a lot of rocks, but chances are good this was not the first time.

      Hmm. I have to think some more on the resentment issue. I know there are plenty things I would not have thought of volunteering to do, which I do merely because it brings Mate joy. I must be looking into the bubble from the other side. In that joy, I find reward which far outweighs my aversion to whatever it is. Hmm.

  5. It is nice to see more comments on this one Red, yes I am still here but going next… Indeed I have been on El Guapo’s Space and that epic he offered just bogged me down a bit, well a lot actually…

    Sorry to go off topic here, but I will be calling back in here later on when you are catching your Zzzz’s and dreaming of wonderful things, maybe even that creatively designed Monster? 🙂 lol

    Have a very nice rest of evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

  6. Dumb ppl are not doomed, but stupid ppl are ;]. Matt values good conversation, while others, not as intelligent, may value something else they seek in a mate.

    • Duct tape does not fix stupid. Stupid is a choice. One of the pluses to intelligence is it leads to fixing things along the path which could result in dissolution of the relationship.

      I have only ever met one truly no-so-smart couple. They were peas in a pod. The way they survived was handlers. People who loved them helped them do all those things they could not figure out on their own. They did love one another, but on such a superficial level, had not everyone around them kept the waters calm, I honestly do not think the marriage could have survived anything of any weight.

  7. Or, they may enjoy a different type of conversation.

  8. Everyone abuses a first time. I do not propose staying with an abuser though. All healing must take place outside the relationship. I just hate to give up on people. I just don’t want to live with them while not giving up on them. Rarely, we see a users deal and come out a new person. I always hope, but never unable.

  9. Enable. (my iPad keeps correcting me lol)

    • I got that 😉 OK, so the question you skipped was what one quality do you wish Mate possessed?

  10. Oddly, with one exception I have not been overly physically attracted to any of my long-term mates. I have been physically attracted to many of my date mates and then they opened their mouths, bleh!

    First husband, physically lovely man. Gorgeous in fact, drop dead to die for. Mean as a snake and abusive as Andras, or perhaps the Marquis de Sade (except his partners were willing).

    I think what I want in a mate has evolved over time and over mates. Some of what I want is more about what I don’t want or what is unacceptable.

    My mate must have both humor and tolerance, not necessarily in that order.

    Greater ambition, not for money but to improve his options.

    I am driven, focused, political and motivated. He is more laid back, more relaxed and can pet me into comfort when I rage.

    Boredom is the bane of long-term relationships.

    (sorry for the delay)

    • I blame the lack of validation for ambition on the muddled thinking it is only about money and occupational pursuits. Be ambitious about being a better person is the best application of it.

      With pretty Mates you run the risk of them believing their beauty excuses their inner ugliness. For most of society, it is true. We forgive egregious behavior because they are beautiful additions to our lives.

      You are so very right about boredom. I think combating the complacency is the true commitment to marriage. The fidelity and steadfastness is truly easier than continuing to keep the feelings vibrant and the brain engaged.


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