That's the conclusion of a study by Cornell University researchers, who asked 978 people what qualities they valued most in a potential mate, and then asked them to rate themselves on the same qualities.
Surprise! The researchers found that mate choice "seems to be based on a preference for long-term partners who are similar to one's perception of self."
The researchers, led by Peter M. Buston, asked people in and around Ithaca, N.Y., to rate potential partners on a scale of one-to-nine on such qualities as financial resources, physical attractiveness, faithfulness, parenting qualities, social status, health, devotion, ambition, family bonds and desire for children.
People who rated themselves highly were more discriminating in what they wanted in a mate, the researchers report in Monday's online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Other theories of mate selection have been based on the idea that opposites attract or that people look for someone who ranks high in child-rearing qualities, the team noted.
But they concluded that a bigger factor in marriage quality and stability is similarity in personality traits.
"From the public perspective, our results suggest that individuals seeking stable, long-term relationships should not seek the highest quality partner available but should simply look for partners who are similar to themselves," the team concluded.