Two Things That Matter Most in a Partner

by | Mar 10, 2019

If you’ve been on a dating site lately you’ve probably indicated all sorts of preference. You like to stay home and eat pizza and watch Netflix, your ideal vacation is sipping cocktails with little umbrellas in them on a beach in the Caribbean, and classical jazz is your music of choice. You answer all those dating site questions in the name of compatibility. Lo and Behold, there’s another person in the database who has the same interests and you’re a match.

But studies show that having a compatible personality with your partner does not necessarily mean you’ll be content. That’s surprising to a lot of people because the presumed wisdom is that if you find someone with similar interests, you’ve got it made as a couple. But research shows that isn’t necessarily so. There are really two important attributes to look for in a partner above all others—kindness and conscientiousness.

Two Things That Matter Most In A Partner Nancy'S Counseling Corner

So ask two questions.

1) Is she kind?

This is the sort of question your mother might ask when you tell her you’re getting interested in someone new. Is she a nice person? Does she come from a good family? If this sort of question seems pedestrian to you, think about it. Living with someone who is kind to you on a daily basis will certainly make your life pleasant. Kind people are agreeable, considerate, generous and friendly. And they’re usually fairly happy to boot.

A person who is unkind can be a nightmare to live with. Let’s assume you can avoid someone who is downright hostile or cruel or inhumane. But sometimes you don’t discover that until you’re deep into a relationship because the unkind person is good at covering up her flaws long enough to ensnare you. Perhaps even more insidious is the calloused or indifferent person who cannot summon the warmth to treat you well. Or the neurotic person who makes everything a terrible drama. Or the anxiety ridden person who is in a constant state of worry, tension and stress.

So your mother is right. Ask yourself if your potential mate is kind.

2) Is he conscientious?

Listen to your mother one more time. Because she will want to know if he is reliable. Can you trust him to do what he says he’ll do? Is his word his bond? Living with someone who says one thing and does another can keep you off balance on a constant basis. And being in a relationship with someone whom you can’t trust to be honest with you is no kind of relationship at all. Because trust is fundamental to a good partnership.

Trustworthiness extends to more than telling the truth. You must be able to trust that your partner is conscientious. He’ll pay the mortgage with clockwork regularity. He’ll be at the restaurant to meet you and won’t make you wait unless it’s an emergency. He’ll do the right thing, even when it’s not the easiest thing. In other words, he’s a good guy. An upstanding citizen. And you can count on him.

So your mother is right again. Even though it seems mundane, a conscientious partner is fundamental to a happy relationship.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:





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