Have you ever wondered why you fell in love with someone? We all express and identify with traits from our body’s estrogen, testosterone, dopamine and serotonin systems. “Finding a lifelong match has more to do with biology than you may think,” Helen Fisher, scientific adviser to chemistry.com and author of Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love tells us. Here, she helps us decode what that really means.
Who are you?
“Understanding your personality can help you find love that lasts,” Fisher says. Each type has its own unique way of relating, dating and mating. Explorers identify most with traits from the dopamine system. They’re curious, spontaneous, flexible and charismatic. A Builder’s attributes come from the serotonin system. They tend to be cautious but not fearful, social, managerial, logistically skilled and traditional. Directors find their features linked to the testosterone system. These people are analytical, logical, fair, direct, focused and competitive. Negotiators are connected to the estrogen system. Both men and women Negotiators plan for the long-term, embrace ambiguity, have great verbal skills and are compassionate.
Are you an Explorer?
Explorers are drawn to other like-minded people who are okay with a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lifestyle. Wanting to please and entertain, they can often come off looking shallow even when they aren’t. “Explorers need to step back and go at life at a slower pace,” Fisher says. “Take a careful look at what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Try to develop a little bit of introspection.”
In Bed with Columbus
If you’re in a relationship with an explorer, learn to go with the flow. “For these people dullness is a misdemeanor,” Fisher explains. Explorers are full of energy and adventure— they love seeking out new places and delving into new ideas. More often than not, they won’t have set plans. If you’re the type that needs structure, discuss it beforehand. Try and avoid planning out every detail. It can make an Explorer feel trapped, Fisher says.
An Explorer’s Mantra
When coming up with a good mantra for finding a mate, Fisher says Explorers should slowly and systematically find an exciting partner for them. Get to know someone and be willing to give him or her a chance. “I emphasize slowly because these people are all over the board,” she says. “They can make up their mind too quickly.”
Builders, Listen Up
“Builders have to try new things,” Fisher says. They tend to fall for people who share the same values and interests. A Builder will take a date to the same place they’ve taken past dates and will listen too much to their friends’ opinions. The least romantic of the four types, Builders are often too economical while wooing their partner. “Courtship is not about frugality,” she says. “It’s about spending in order to win.”
If You’re Dating a Builder
Follow the basic rules of dating when going after a Builder. “These people are traditional,” Fisher says. “They want to open the door for you. They themselves are dutiful and they need you to follow the rules, too.” Respect plans and be on time. Something as simple as introducing a Builder to your friends will be meaningful to them. Instead of going out to a busy restaurant with lots of people try a smaller, more intimate place to get to know one another.