The psychology of romantic relationships: motivations and mate preferences

Eugene Tartakovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study investigates motivations to engage in romantic relationships. We examine the structure of romantic motivations and their connections with personal values and mate preferences. Method: The study was conducted in Israel among young men and women looking for a romantic partner (n = 1,121, 40% male, age 18–30). Results: Data analysis demonstrated that basic romantic motivations form a circumplex that may be partitioned into four higher-order romantic motivations: love and care, family and children, status and resources, and sex and adventure. The romantic motivations formed a meaningful pattern of connections with higher-order values, thus confirming that context-specific motivations are derived from general motivational goals expressed in values. Personal value preferences and romantic motivations predicted the sought-after partner characteristics over and above sociodemographic variables. Values were indirectly (through romantic motivations) and directly connected to mate preferences. Discussion: The study advances our understanding of romantic relationships among young people and opens new directions for research and counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1273607
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 2023


  • Arabs
  • Israel
  • Jews
  • adolescents and young adults
  • mate preferences
  • personal values
  • romantic motivations
  • romantic relationships


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