All the Wrong Ones: Re-Evaluate How You Choose a Partner

by Nancy Travers,LCSW

When you think about finding a partner, you probably have the perfect prospect in mind. When imagining the perfect mate, most people immediately think of physical characteristics. Many people supplement this idea immediately be adding personality traits such as humor, intelligence and charm. If you are choosing partners based on these aspects, there are many theoretical partners. These ideal characteristics are important to finding a person who makes you happy, but there are other, very important aspects of a potential partner to consider:

Matching expectations and life goals: A suitable partner is someone that will be able to work and grow with you throughout the rest of your life. This is nearly impossible if your goal is to see the world and live on every continent, and his is to find a stable company to work at for the next ten years. When you begin considering someone as a potential long term partner, it is important to be honest with each other about your goals and ideas for the future. If you\’re both on opposite ends of the possibility spectrum, you may not want to start listening for wedding bells. To be happy with a partner for the long haul, you both have to contribute to the relationship; if your expectations and goals aren\’t in sync, you\’ll only hold each other back. Ultimately, you will be looking for your next great romance at some point.

Good behavior and winning personality: It may seem a simple idea, but finding a partner with the right manners and personality for your lifestyle is a good idea. You may secretly imagine running off with a bad boy who speaks his mind regardless of the situation or the consequences, but if you\’re spending your free time mingling with young sophisticated people, you need someone who will fit the part. Moreover, you need someone who wants to fit the part! Behavior and attitude is important. And even those bad boys should be able to be polite, patient and understanding with you.

The Right Kind of Affectionate: A good partner will be one that is affectionate towards you, and has a soft spot for your family and close friends. Everyone wants to feel loved, and an affectionate partner will be able to make you feel comfortable and connected. Of course, everyone expresses their affection differently, and you will need to find a partner that expresses theirs in a manner that makes you happy. If you\’re expecting grand demonstrations of love, public displays of affection, and gifts while your partner imagines meaningful conversation and quite support, both of you will be unhappy. Acknowledging the affection that you are seeking early in the relationship will help you evaluate your prospective partner and your possibilities better.

Solid communication: Communication is the key to any good relationship, romantic or otherwise. When you\’re searching for the perfect mate, you should consider your partner\’s ability to communicate with you about the important aspects of their life and your future together. Are they comfortable letting you know how they feel? Are they completely honest with you? You also want to seek out a person who is able to listen to you about your feelings, and is able to understand your point of view. Good communication is the key to building familiarity, bonding with your partner, and working through disagreements. You cannot build a healthy relationship without it. More important than good communication is a willingness to try; communication skills can be built overtime, but both partners have to be willing to work together.

Balance: The key to a happy life and a successful relationship is being able to find balance. Both you and your partner should be able to balance your current obligations and each other. Again, your expectations and goals should match, as well as the way that you both manage your time. If you are always at work, but your prospective partner is generally at home waiting for you, then you both may not be satisfied with the relationship. Individuals that can manage their own time and find balance in their life can also help you bring more balance to yours, and vice versa.

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