Could Your Companion Animal Determine Your Future Mate?
The human-animal bond is becoming more recognized across society, and for many people, dogs and cats are now seen as members of the family. Companion animals are so valued that studies have shown a recent vast increase in spending on food, insurance, and all other items companion animal-related. Various studies have explored companion animals’ potential positive effect on their guardians’ health, such as lowering blood pressure, combating loneliness, encouraging physical activity, and promoting an overall sense of happiness. With all these benefits that companion animals provide, who else would be a more perfect matchmaker than our four-legged best friends?
In this study, a survey was given to a group of singles who were registered on the online dating site, Match.com, to determine the role companion animals play in partner assessment and partner selection. Before the results of the survey were studied, two hypotheses were made regarding the roles of companion animals in the dating lives of singles. The two hypotheses were:
- Single women will place more value on how a potential partner will interact with their companion animal than single men will; and
- Dogs will serve more important roles in the dating world than cats will because dogs are more social and require more care. Dogs then, would be a better judge of a potential partner’s caregiving capacity.
The results of the survey showed that the first hypothesis was correct. Women are more sensitive to a potential partner’s treatment of companion animals because they place greater concern on the well-being of their current companion animals, as well as the possible integration of a partner’s companions into their family. Additionally, women were much more likely than men to judge a date based on how that person reacted to their companion animal so they could decide if that person was worth dating. This is due to many womens’ focus on paternal care. A male partner’s treatment of a companion animal can provide clues as to whether he will be kind, committed, and engaged with their own future children.
Additionally, since companion animals are increasingly viewed as family members and people are parenting their companion animals more, the researchers posit that how a woman feels based on her companion animal’s reaction to a potential mate, would be the similar feeling as how her human children would react to a potential mate. This survey found that women are more satisfied in their relationships when their partners feel the same way they do about their companion animals and when there is harmony in the household. However, men’s relationship happiness is not based on closeness with companion animals at all.
The results of the survey also show that the second hypothesis was correct. Dogs served more commonly as social guidelines in the dating world than cats did. Singles were less responsive to cues of cat guardianship and treatment. Interactions with companion cats tend to be less social and demanding. The survey showed that dogs are more useful for singles to assess potential dates than other companion animals, such as cats, because dogs are often more integrated into their guardians’ lives. Because companion cats are less social than dogs and require less care than dogs, they show a lesser representation of a potential partner’s caregiving capacity. Finally, most of the singles in the study stated that they would approach someone they were attracted to if that person had a dog with them, mainly because dogs, more so than cats, are easy conversation starters.
Companion animals, dogs especially, play a significant role in making or breaking a new relationship. Seeking partners that embrace all the important members of the family and making companion animals a priority in dating life is key. The next time an animal advocate steps out into the dating world, perhaps inviting a potential mate to a vegan restaurant or volunteering at an animal shelter for the day could help determine if those common interests are present and would benefit animals at the same time. Additionally, some dating sites now host companion animal-friendly dating events. This could be the perfect opportunity for your furry friends’ intuition and match-making skills to kick in.