Psychology and Relationships

93% of daters want this one quality in a potential partner

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A whopping 93% of Hinge users prefer to date someone who is emotionally vulnerable, according to the app's data. They care more about this than height or income. 

It makes sense as dating can often feel like a time loop. You discuss the same surface level topics over a couple drinks and come away not really knowing who the other person even is. 

"People do get frustrated when they are going on first or second dates and they feel like they don't know who is behind the mask," says Lisa Bobby, psychologist and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Denver, Colorado.

"It's a series of anecdotes and funny stories and 'one time in Ibiza' and that sort of thing." 

People do get frustrated when they are going on first or second dates and they feel like they don't know who is behind the mask.
Lisa Bobby

Being more vulnerable can make dates interesting and actually offer some information as to whether the other person is a good fit. It can also get messy.

"If it feels like too much too fast, that is a sign they don't have great boundaries and it's going to be a difficult relationship," Bobby says.

"Those things are correlated with a lot of emotional intensity and attachment issues." 

What exactly do daters want potential partners to open up about? 84% want to hear about values, 65% want feelings, and 63% want to hear about relationship hopes and fears, according to Hinge's data. 

In order to share this in an appropriate way, it'll take some planning and thought. 

Here is the right, and wrong, way to be vulnerable on a first date. 

Do: Use anecdotes

"What kind of details in your life represent values that are important to you," she says. 

Think of some stories that reflect what is important to you.

For example, she says, early into dating her own husband he told her a story of how he adopted two kittens that he found abandoned in a car on his way to work. 

"As I heard that story I came to understand a lot of things about my husband that are true to this day," she says. "He is caring, he has a caretaking quality, he is very compassionate." 

You don't need to prepare an exact script. Just identify what qualities you'd like a potential partner to know you have and what stories exemplify those qualities.

This way, you can be emotionally vulnerable and not overwhelming. 

Do: Be clear about relationships history…but not on the first date

Avoid talking about relationship history on a first date, Bobby says.

But as you get to know someone it would be appropriate to share what you "appreciated and found difficult" about your previous relationships.

You can also communicate what you learned about yourself in the process. 

"If someone says 'In that relationship my partner was traveling constantly and super careerist and work-focused,' and then the person on the other side of the bistro table is like 'oh I work 90 hours a week' that's good information to have," she says. 

Don't: Bring up trauma

Being authentic doesn't mean you need to overshare.

"Anything related to trauma, mental health issues, or super negative life experiences, we save that for people we know well," Bobby says. 

If a potential partner is bringing this up early on, Bobby says, it's a "red flag." 

While you want to get to know someone quickly, there is value in having boundaries, Bobby says: "We don't want to cannonball into the deep end of the pool with someone we don't know yet."

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