“Picking the right person for the right reasons at the right time is an art form.” – Dr. Barton Goldsmith
Ever wondered why nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce? Relationship experts are all 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.”
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 pretty much 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,” and so on. (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 someone who wants to get married yesterday
Alright, if you’re on a first date and the word “married” escapes your date’s lips once, it should be a wrap. (Minus the obvious exceptions, like marriage being a topic of discussion.)
Most people rushing to get married make it fairly obvious during the first date or two. Odds are that they’re going to be a pain to date, much less marry.
3. Someone who can make you smile and laugh
A sense of humor is so very powerful – 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 toughest obstacles; not to mention, laughter brings lots of fun to a relationship.
4. Someone you can talk to
As a relationship progresses, this quality becomes more important than anything else. If you can’t have a good conversation with your partner, no matter the circumstances, it’s going to be a rough ride.
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 a fantastic question to ask before each date.
6. One who can abstain from lust
Strong physical attraction has a way of creating tunnel vision – we pay less attention to what someone says and does. Resisting this strong sense of magnetism and being tactful and respectful is a great 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 – and this can cloud our judgment. If you have a good first date, great! Just do yourself a favor and don’t become full of anxiety, which can come off as desperation. Hopefully, the other person reciprocates.
8. If you can’t look past that “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. Be yourself and find someone who loves it
The other person will like your real 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 who is 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.