If you’re single you already know: it’s rough out there in today’s dating market. For one thing, dating apps provide an endless stream of potential partners to choose from, which research shows only makes the selection and matching process harder. On top of this, you’re contending with more timeless dating woes including questionable chemistry, mysterious motives, and baggage on both sides. Given that many men also report feeling generally mystified by what women want in a partner, it’s a wonder anyone gets together in the end.
Thankfully, a new study has shed some light on the question of what women want, and demystifying it may just help some people couple up. The study, published in Science Advances analyzed data from online dating exchanges and determined that in the hierarchy of desirable qualities, being highly educated was considered the most attractive quality in men.
“Desirability is associated with education most strongly for men, for whom more education is always more desirable,” the researchers explained. Those with higher degrees had higher message rates from online daters, and tended to interact more with women who were themselves considered “highly desirable.”
As one article in The New York Times corroborates, marriage rates have been on the decline among men without college degrees. “For men without higher education, dwindling prospects in the labor market have made a growing percentage either unwilling to marry or unable to find someone to marry them,” the authors wrote. They suggested that as women themselves attain higher levels of education, they’re more interested in “a mate with more education and hence better financial prospects.”
That said, if you don’t happen to hold a degree, don’t despair: there are several more subjective qualities which women tend to rank as highly important in a potential partner, but are less likely to be included in this type of ranking. This means you may very well attract a partner with your wit, charm, or warmth—especially IRL, where she can get to know the person behind the profile. Read on for more qualities that women find most attractive, and for more on dating, check out You’re Most Attractive to This Type of Person.