When I hit late 20's and now the big three-oh, I've worked out some clearer criteria of what constitutes an appropriate mate. I think the quality which makes one a human being more than anything else is empathy. An empathetic life is a most worthwhile pursuit. It can of course manifest itself in a multitude of non-token ways. My second criteria is intelligence. I seek someone who is ideally more intelligent than I. I really value a good conversation, someone who can intrigue me and tell me something I don't know - and that's not easy to do, because I am well-read. Third, a good personality. Fourth, someone who is not socially-conditioned with a pathological distrust of authority. I value rebels, people who cannot or choose not to conform to the dominant paradigms of our society (but not to the extent where they loose virtue or become total freaks living aimlessly for the moment) . And, I value creativity. People who are articulate, and can talk or write eloquently are exciting. I think the ability to communicate is very important, but I also prize logical thought. I would have to say the most important quality I seek in a potential mating partner is the ability to constantly reassess herself, her religion, her goals, her views. This self-reassessment is very important. A person who always grows and evolves, not stuck going in the same direction for the rest of her life, putting the car on cruise control. Every person serious about growth must constantly reassess his/her life. But some people are perpetually stuck in the 9th grade, comfortable where they are. I would have to say I am discontent not only with my life but the world, which is what drives me.
I don't think these expectations are particularly high, but then picking a "partner", as the politically correct term du jour goes is totally different from picking a TV set, or a new car. The qualities that people seek are intangible. It's conceivable than every criteria I have could be satisfied but the fire just isn't there. Or none get satisifed, yet the person marches to the beat of the same drum. IMO, the cement which truly solidifies a relationship long-term is the same calling in life. . . It's a cultural and religious thing. I am not religious, but I do want to validate my own spirituality. I make a non-token difference in the world, someone who does too appeals to me on a profound level. I don't connect very deep with people who embrace the type of things I've now come to reject: status quo, fashion, the latest and the greatest materialistic toy, or some mythological belief system.
Finally, I must add, that I suspect the premise behind these dating web sites is fatally flawed, in that, I am not sure that the superficial questions they ask have any impact at all on the long-term glues which hold relationships together. These questions fail to grasp the intangibles which make it work. Sometimes they are downright silly and almost always irrelevant. It's just fluff. That's why, to be brutally honest, I don't expect any earth-shattering results from this engagement, but the net is the latest fad, so here I am contributing my two bits - doing what I don't like to do - conforming, that is.