Have you ever wondered why nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce? Relationship experts are too quick to point out why married couples split – information that may or may not make a difference for someone seeking to avoid the “Big D.” So what do you look for in a new partner?
Something that’s far less discussed is the vetting process known as dating. The word “vetting” may sound callous when describing dating, but isn’t that REALLY what it is?
Sure, dating can be (and should be) a fun, non-committal, “this may or may not happen” type of thing, but for most people, a date is a potential partner.
It’s too easy to say, “you should wait for this, this, and this before committing yourself.” While such a statement may be well-intentioned, it’s worthless unless you provide some substance; in other words, why “this, this, and this” may be important attributes to look for in a partner. Every person is different and looks for different things (really complicated, we know.)
We don’t pretend to be relationship experts – we are not. We don’t provide “one size fits all” advice – and we won’t do so here.
“An objective mindset” is not a particularly sexy or exciting thing to recommend for daters. (And, remember, it is only a recommendation.) BUT, when it comes to relationships, objectivity is underrated. Practicality is underrated. Cohesiveness is underrated.
Here are 10 (possible) things to look (and not look) for in the right partner:
1. Having the “Essentials” in Common
We’re glad you asked. The “essentials” are things like: where to live, children or no children, religion or spirituality, the use of money, a sense of a “shared purpose,” etc. (Some even put political views on this list…)
Take the five things important to you and see how your date checks out. Just don’t interrogate them or give out a creepy vibe.
2. Be Wary of a New Partner Who Wants to Rush to the Altar
If you’re on a first date and the word “married” escapes your date’s lips once, it should be a wrap. (Minus the apparent exceptions, like marriage being a topic of discussion.)
Most people rushing to get married become reasonably apparent during the first date or two. The odds are that they will be a pain to date, much less marry.
3. Find a Partner Who Puts a Smile on Your Face
A sense of humor is compelling – and a shared sense of humor is even more so. Finding someone who can get you to smile and laugh on a bad day deserves some consideration.
Humor can overcome many of life’s most formidable obstacles, not to mention that laughter brings lots of fun to a relationship.
4. Someone Who Listens to You
As a relationship progresses, this quality becomes more important than anything else. If you can’t have a good conversation with your partner, it’s going to be a rough ride no matter the circumstances.
5. Someone with the “Intangibles.”
Again, thanks for asking. Intangible personality traits: kindness, honesty, generosity, integrity, and empathy.
“What intangibles are important to me?” is an excellent question before each date.
6. One Who Can Abstain From Lust
Physical solid attraction creates tunnel vision – we pay less attention to what someone says and does. Resisting this strong sense of magnetism and being discreet and respectful is an excellent sign.
7. Ability to Dismiss First Date Infatuation
When we immediately hit it off with someone, it’s tempting to allow passion to creep in, which can cloud our judgment. If you have an ideal first date, great! Do yourself a favor and don’t become full of anxiety, which can come as desperation. Hopefully, the other person reciprocates.
8. If You Can’t Look Past the “One Thing,” Don’t
It doesn’t matter what the “one thing is” – a lack of attraction, bad chemistry, a “red flag,” whatever. That “one thing” will likely make progression in a relationship difficult, if not impossible.
9. Find a Partner Who Will Love You for Yourself
The other person will like your authentic self, or they won’t – it’s that simple. In the event of the latter, shrug it off and look forward to when someone loves the real you. Whatever you do, don’t compromise or put on a façade.
Believe us. It’s worth the wait.
10. Someone Compassionate, Kind, and Loving
Sort of a no-brainer here, but plenty of folks have ended up with someone who exhibits zero of these traits. Do yourself a favor and observe how the person interacts with strangers. This is often a good indication of their character.
11. A Partner Who Doesn’t Have A lot of Baggage
Emotional baggage can be detrimental to a relationship. When someone has been hurt so deep into their soul that it changes them, this will directly affect anyone with them in the future. For instance, someone cheated on is more likely to fear going through that pain again. So, they might be a little overprotective and controlling to keep history from repeating itself.
According to the Wright Foundation, each person has some degree of emotional baggage. However, it’s imperative to unpack those bags if you ever intend to move on with your life. This can be done through many outlets, including therapy. Consequently, it’s essential to be honest with anyone you enter into a relationship with, as they need to know your issues upfront.
12. A Person Who Has Common Interests
While they say that opposites attract, you need to have some things in common to enjoy time with one another. If you don’t like to do any of the same things, one of you will be sitting and waiting for the day to end while the other will be aggravated that you don’t enjoy the same stuff. The other option is to do things apart, and that’s only good on occasion. To be a strong couple, spending time together is essential.
13. Strong Family/Friend Support
You can always tell a lot about a person by how they treat their friends and family members. Did you know that narcissistic people often have poor relationships, if any? If a person doesn’t want you to come home and meet the family after months of dating.
14. Treats Others with Respect
One exciting way to tell how someone truly is on the inside is to watch how they treat others. It doesn’t matter that they act like you’re the best person in the world if they tell off the waitstaff for an order mix-up. Watch how they interact with customer service people, their families, and coworkers.
You want someone kind, and old habits don’t die hard. Just because they seem kind and genuine to you at the moment, it doesn’t always mean it will stay that way.
15. Respects Your Boundaries
Any healthy relationship has boundaries. These limitations keep you safe and secure, and if they genuinely want to be with you, they will respect them. If you have a rule that there will be no intimacy for a couple of months, they shouldn’t be pushing you to do something that makes you go beyond your limits.
When someone truly cares for you, they will respect the morals and boundaries you’ve established, too, will have limits.
16. Does the Little Things
While trust, honesty, and integrity are all part of the foundational building blocks of a relationship, you also need someone who does the little things. Something sweet tends to solidify the relationship when someone makes your coffee before work, sends flowers, scratches your back because it calms you, and cares that your car is warm on a cold winter’s morning.
17. Wants to Spend Time with You
Relationships require a lot of time and effort, and if you don’t take the time to nurture your union, it will fall apart. Look for a mate willing to spend time with you even if it means they must let some things go. Remember that a person will always make time for the important things to them, so don’t accept the excuse that they’re too busy.
While love and intimacy are all good, romance without finance isn’t happening. If you want someone who will make your life easier, you will pick a stable person. A sound person has a degree, job, and life in order. The last thing you need is someone who is a complete mess and couch surfing as they need to fix themselves before they can ever bring someone else into their life.
19. A Partner Who Has Empathy
It would help if you had someone who gets you on an emotional level. Sympathy is one thing, but having empathy takes it to a whole new dimension. You want a person that puts their arms around you after a hard day and lets you cry on their shoulders.
An empathetic person knows that there are times when you need personal space, and there are times when you need someone to cuddle with you. Whenever you’re experiencing loss or other emotional pain, they listen to you and don’t try to minimize your feelings. They may not have all the answers, but they offer you the gift of their presence.
20. Find a Dependable Partner
Did you know that the best ability is dependability? You want a partner who shows up when they say they will. If they say they’re going to take you on vacation to the mountains, that vacation is as good as done.
You want someone you can depend on, and their words are gospel. Otherwise, it causes a rift under the surface when one partner is dependable and the other is flighty.
21. Someone Not Afraid of Commitment
It’s often the case that people are afraid of commitment. Some people won’t classify your relationship as anything other than friends, and that hurts. You want an available person who is not scared of taking things to the next level with you.
22. They Have Lots of Friends of the Opposite Sex
Of course, it’s wonderful to have friends of the opposite sex. However, it’s a red flag when the person you’re interested in is texting and calling members of the opposite sex too frequently. It can indicate that someone is a player, or it can signify that they have other issues going on under the surface.
Final Thoughts on Finding a Wonderful New Partner
When you find someone who completes you in every way, you’ve found a gem indeed. People often become satisfied with unsatisfactory relationships because they don’t think they can do better.
It’s often the case that it’s easier to settle for someone that isn’t your perfect match because you feel it’s better than being alone. However, the only thing worse than being single and alone is being with the wrong person, and waiting for the right one is worth the wait.