Survey shows women really do prefer sense of humor over good looks

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Padma Lakshmi and David Spade

A new survey of 1,000 people conducted by People Media finds that almost half of the country prefers a sense of humor to, well, anything else.

"In addition to chemistry, which one of the following do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a relationship partner?" That was the question posed to random Americans, and the answers broke down like so:

45 percent — Sense of humor

30 percent — Similar cultural background

10 percent — Appearance

7.3 percent — Educational level

6.8 percent — Financial state

Of course, these are probably idealized figures — and that they're all dealbreakers if fudged up by the other person. (A good appearance may be essential for only 10% of the country, but 95% of people would probably change their minds about someone who dressed increasingly like a slob in public.)

"Similar attitudes and values between partners are critical to the longevity of relationships,” said Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan known as The Love Doctor, who also is a relationship expert for People Media’s  “Having a similar background – be it religion, race, ethnicity or lifestyle – acts as a frame of reference that both partners share.  These shared perspectives enhance communication and one’s ability to be, and feel, understood. This helps create a sort of ‘emotional shorthand’ that is beneficial to healthy relationships.”