A new study carried out by researchers from the University of Sheffield and the University of Montpellier in France, concluded that our real-life partners are very different than our image of the ideal life partner.
Otherwise said, we all dream of a perfect man, or a perfect woman, not too skinny, not to fat, with a sense of humor, intelligent and loving, but this kind of idealistic dreams remain in fairy tales.
From a scientific point of view, our actual partners have different weight, height and body mass index than we would ideally choose.
To get to these conclusions, they gathered data from one hundred heterosexual couples living in Montpellier, in the south of France region.
For studying body morphology preferences, the scientists used a software that allowed each participant to modify the body shape of their ideal silhouette, on a computer screen, and then compared them to the real characteristics of the partners.
The results showed that most men and women have body preferences that are different than the actual morphology of their partners,, and the differences between reality and fantasy were often higher for women than for men.
This is no surprise for women, but the study also found that most men would have liked having female partners much slimmer than they really did.
On the other hand, women are not satisfied either but even though there are some that would like having slimmer men, there are also many who would prefer bigger ones.
The main reason for which the study focused on human mating preferences, was to better understand our complex reproductive behavior, but also to compare previous study results of ideal mate choice and actual pairing.
After the silhouette-shaping test, which studied height, weight and body mass, men's preferences turned out to be less different from their actual partners than females ones.
This may also be due to other traits like personality, political opinion or sense of humor which are also important factors in partner choice.
“Whether males or females win the battle of mate choice, it is likely for any trait, what we prefer and what we get, differs quite significantly,” said Dr Alexandre Courtiol, from the University of Sheffield, who carried out the work with colleagues from the Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier.
“This is because our ideals are usually rare or unavailable and also because both sexes express preferences while biological optimum can differ between them,” he added.
The study was published this week in the Journal PLoS ONE.