Mate selection theories

6 June 2016

For this report I have decided to interview my father to learn more about the process he went through when selecting my mother as his mate. I have developed questions to ask my father during the interview process. These questions relate to the mate selection theories. The purpose of my research is to get an in depth understanding of the mate selection process, and to determine if any of the mate selection theories can be applied to my parents.

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The social homogamy theory explains that individuals are attracted to people from similar social backgrounds. Considering my father’s answer for the first question, “Finding a mate with a similar social background was very important to me”, it can clearly be seen that that the social homogamy theory applied to my father during his mate selection process.

My father also explained thoroughly that finding a mate within his social environment ensured that he would end up with a mate who has similar interests, job, religious and political views. When asking my dad if he would of considered selecting a mate from a different social group he responded: “I would have considered a mate from a different social group if I were presented with the opportunity, but so far this has not been the case as all of my friends, family, and everyone I know comes from a similar social group”. It is very clear here that finding a mate within the same social group was critical for my father.

According to the ideal mate theory, attraction is based on an individual’s unconscious perspective of the ideal mate formed from his/her perception. After reviewing my father’s answer to my research questions, I have come to conclude that this theory did not have any involvement or relation during my father’s mate selection process.

This perception of an “ideal mate” comes from positive experiences with other individuals. At this time my father did not consider who an ideal mate would be, rather he was hoping to find a woman from within his social group. Thus when my dad first met my mom their relationship began simply because they were involved in the same social group, not because he saw my mother as an “ideal mate”.

The social exchange theory states that attractions are based more on reality than fantasy, and that almost every individual finds a mate in his/her society. Individuals asses what they have to offer in a relationship, and base their mate selection process according to whom would be most attracted to his/her available resources. This theory also applies to my father in regards to his mate selection process because my mom was specifically attracted to my dad’s attributes and what he had to offer. “Your mother was looking for a man who wanted to start a family, and who would work hard to support that family”.

This shows that my mom was attracted to my dad’s specific attributes, and vice versa. “When your mom told me she wanted to be a stay a home mom to look after the kids, and that she needed a husband to support the family financially and emotionally, I knew things between your mother and I would work with regards to both of our plans to start a family”. It can clearly be seen that my parent’s relationship is a good representation of the social exchange theory because both my parents had resources that led to them attracting each other.

After the interview process with my father, I have learned much more than I have expected about the mate selection process. Initially I assumed physical attraction was one of the main influences, however after reviewing the three mate selection theories I realize this is a much more complicated process, one that should be taken seriously. The theory that applied to my father the most during his mate selection process is the social homogamy theory.

This is the theory that states how individuals are attracted to others who have similar social backgrounds. If my dad was not involved in the same social group as my mom it can be argued that they would of never even met. During the mate selection process there are many factors that must be considered before an individual selects a mate. Looking at my parent’s relationship, I understand how important the mate selection process is.

They have been married now for almost 50 years now and their relationship is still growing stronger, which is a result of their initial decision to become mates. The mate selection process is a process that cannot be rushed. Time must be taken to observe all the variables and benefits of the relationship as this can be a lifelong decision.

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