When you begin searching for a long-term relationship, the goal is to develop something happy, healthy, and long-lasting. No one wants a relationship that they envision going on for life to come to an end, and it’s always heartbreaking to have to let go of one this way. This contentment begins with seeking a partner with positive traits that are key in long-term relationships.
If you want a relationship with a higher chance of long-term success, then you’ll have to cultivate positive traits and seek partners with characteristics that can help the dynamic’s health. But what are those features, and how are they defined? Here are ten traits to look for to have a happy and content long-term relationship.
Every single person on the planet wants to feel heard, understood, and validated. In a long-term relationship, all parties should be responsive for all partners to feel like they’re on the same team. Research shows us that successful relationships have responsiveness as a substantial contributing factor to that success!
Optimistic, responsive behavior includes:
- Validating a partner’s concerns and worries
- Being interested in a partner’s feelings and thoughts
- Accommodating a partner’s reasonable needs
- Asking questions in conversation with a partner
- Listening to the opinions and perspectives of a partner
- Checking in to make sure of a partner’s emotional, mental, and physical state
- Displaying clear signs of understanding to a partner
Many people mix up “maturity” with acting “grown-up,” but that’s not really what that means. You can be mature and still act like a kid at heart. You don’t have to stop watching cartoons or laughing at toilet humor to be genuinely mature deep down!
Instead, maturity is about knowing how to behave with responsibility, thoughtfulness, and consideration, with an outlook that considers other people, actions and consequences, and the desire to learn and grow. This trait is vital in a long-term relationship because maturity allows all parties to:
- They have a strong sense of autonomy and independence, which means they have their own opinions, thoughts, and desires without needing to rely on a partner.
- Be a complete person who isn’t seeking a partner that makes up for their weaknesses, but a partner they can grow together.
- Reflect on their actions and behaviors to grow continually.
- Listen to concerns and problems with an open mind and the ability to compromise, see other points of view, and consider how others may feel.
- Manage conflict in a positive way.
- Please resist the urge to project their insecurities or problems from past relationships onto current ones.
- Respect, honor, and value a partner and a relationship.
It’s easy to see, then, why maturity is so important in long-term relationships!
Self-control in a relationship can help its health. A partner with poor self-control may indulge in behavior such as:
- Picking up their mobile devices constantly
- Being impatient whenever they’re not directly involved in something
- Not paying full attention or listening entirely to what you say due to distractibility
- Turning to look and stare at every single attractive person they see
- Commonly feeling “tempted” to cheat
High self-control in a partner also, of course, reduces the risk of infidelity and helps relationships to stay loyal and faithful, say studies. This is a trait that you would want in a relationship that you want to last!
Empathy refers to the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, understand how their experiences inform their behavior and thoughts and appreciate your differences while being aware of what you have in common. Given that relationships involve a union of at least two people, it’s no surprise that empathy and the ability to understand and appreciate others are crucial in such a relationship.
Empathy also allows partners in a relationship to:
- Communicate in ways that all parties can understand
- Validate each other’s experiences
- Understand where each other is coming from
- Respect each other’s values, desires, and beliefs
- Pay attention to what each other is going through
- See through each other’s eyes
5. Gratitude and Appreciation
A long-term relationship is one built on appreciation and gratitude for your partner. These traits can be shown by:
- Thanking a partner for the things they do, whether verbally or through affection.
- Appreciating a partner’s personality, quirks, and strengths
- Doing small acts to show your appreciation for a partner, such as writing them notes, checking items off their to-do list, or buying them small gifts, depending on their personal preferences
- Regularly telling a partner that you love them and appreciate them
- Regularly complimenting a partner
Studies have found that in relationships with appreciation as a critical component, partners are more likely to continue positive behaviors that keep the relationship happy and healthy. It’s easy to lose sight of what you appreciate in a partner the longer you’ve been together, so don’t let that happen to your relationship!
Some people falsely believe that there are little to no boundaries in a relationship, but that’s certainly not true and is far from the case. All human beings need boundaries to maintain positive and healthy relationships of all kinds, and long-term romantic partnerships are no different. Limitations, which can be physical, emotional, or of other natures, may include:
- Personal goals and dreams
- Personal desires and needs
- Lines that shouldn’t be crossed
- Things that make one partner uncomfortable
- Personality traits and quirks
- A passion for space and the space for that need
You don’t have to have the exact boundaries as a partner, but all parties involved must respect the boundaries of the others! This will ensure that partners can share a relationship happily, have their needs met, and feel safe and comfortable at the same time. A disrespect of boundaries isn’t just a surefire way to kill a relationship in the long run, but it’s also just a big red flag!
Some people say that truth hurts. Others say that ignorance is bliss. But the reality is that a long-term relationship requires complete and utter trust and that trust can only be fed and nurtured through total honesty. Consider:
- Blatant deception hurts someone more when they find out the truth than the initial hurtful truth.
- Discrepancies between what one says and what one does lead to a relationship of constant distrust.
- Dishonesty can be a massive betrayal to someone’s vulnerability towards you; long-term dishonesty can completely shatter someone’s reality.
- In the long run, someone will appreciate honesty over dishonesty.
A relationship where you cannot trust your partner is sure to end or lead to an unhappy, mistrustful arrangement of suspicion. There’s a lot of security and safety that comes with completely trusting a partner, and it’s essential for long-term relationships.
8. Positive Thinking
Few people want to be around those who are constantly pessimistic, likely because that pessimism can drag someone down. Imagine always being around someone who continually brings a gray cloud with them! That can dampen any relationship.
Studies have found that you are more likely to be happy in a relationship if you’re dating someone with positive thinking. Someone who feels good about themselves, the connection, and the world around them will uplift you and your positive feelings with uplift them in a lovely cycle.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that people in a relationship must act happy when they’re not or pretend that everything’s sunshine and rainbows when it isn’t. That’s not very healthy at all! The goal is to have realistically grounded positive thinking, not to form toxic ideas of positivity!
Long-term relationships are, well, long. That means that there are plenty of times when you and your partner will make mistakes, some of which will hurt each other. What matters is being able to learn, grow, and change from those experiences with maturity, as previously mentioned – and then comes the importance of forgiveness.
Holding a grudge and refusing to forgive a partner in a relationship will build up resentment over time. You will wind up in a situation where you’re filled with contempt towards your partner, which will kill a relationship quickly. The goal of a relationship is for you to learn and grow together, which means accepting the occasional misstep and being willing to forgive and move forward with positive thinking.
However, remember that forgiveness does not mean:
- Forcing yourself to “forgive” to avoid conflict, leaving unresolved feelings behind
- Continuing to forgive a partner who does not apologize or stop performing harmful or hurtful behavior.
- Accepting substantial red flags, such as being hit by a partner, as subjects to be forgiven.
- Forcing yourself to move on and stop hurting as soon as possible after the main issue is resolved.
Learn the difference between forgiving someone and being a doormat or letting them get away with harmful behavior! Forgiveness cannot occur if the party who performed the destructive act is not truly sorry and is not working on avoiding a repeat of that action; in that situation, a break-up may be necessary.
Humor can get you through the darkest of times. A relationship where you can laugh at yourself, with each other, and over life’s circumstances is one with higher staying power. Humor is a fantastic tension-breaker. It helps in coping with hard times and facilitates better bonding.
This doesn’t mean to force a laugh when you don’t have it in you, of course. It only means that a relationship with a compatible sense of humor will make for a happier, healthier, and more closely bonded partnership.
Many positive traits to look for in long-term relationships, but most of those formulas involve these positive traits. These traits are helpful in facilitating a closer bond, higher relationship satisfaction, and a healthier dynamic between partners.
Does your current relationship lack the traits above to seek out in long-term relationships? Don’t fret. You and your partner can talk about these traits and work together to build them over time. That’s all part and parcel of learning and growing with a partner, after all! But, at the same time, don’t let a lackluster relationship hold you back from finding something healthier!