Do you have an ideal partner sketched out in your head? Perhaps you have a shopping list of “must have” traits. If so, you are not alone. The most common characteristics people want in their partners include honesty, intelligence, sense of humor, stability, communication, and common hobbies and interests. Though men and women might seek similar traits in a partner, research has demonstrated that each gender focuses on different qualities. Men typically want a relationship that allows autonomy, while women look for a sense of connection.
To begin your quest to find the right partner, think about the traits and behaviors you prefer. Most people automatically think of superficial traits such as height or eye color. Though these traits may be important to you, other traits may also be more important when it comes to having a healthy, long-term relationship. Here is a list of some important qualities to consider:
Consider some flaws that can be fatal to a relationship. Your partner might have one or more of these traits and still be capable of having a relationship. According to Barbara DeAngelis, the following is a list of fatal flaws:
Next, turn the examination inwards. Ask yourself what is holding you back from having a loving relationship. Perhaps you are hurt from a previous break-up. Maybe you are afraid of commitment. Identify these issues and find ways to resolve them. In addition, examine your previous relationships and learn from them. What mistakes did you make? What aspects of a previous relationship would you want to develop in a future relationship? Finally, examine other factors that might affect your partner choice: cultural norms, expectations of male and female roles, religious background, and socioeconomic status. What are your core values that you are not willing to bend or change?
Once you are in a relationship, continue to examine your compatibility with your partner. Do not overlook compatibility issues in order to just “be in a relationship”. In other words, do not ignore warning signs of potential problems. Other mistakes include making compromises, such as eliminating activities you like because they don't find them interesting, or reducing your communication with family members or friends your partner dislikes. Evaluate your core value systems and determine if they mesh with your partners. These values are important to you and if your partner and you do not share these values, then there may always be arguments about these.
You should not be hesitant to ask your partner questions. It is important to learn not only about your partner, but also about your partner's relationship with his or her family. Learning about their family will provide better insights about your partner. Here is a list of questions you could ask:
Overall, be patient. It is critical to know your own values, wants, and needs before you enter a relationship. Take your time getting to know your partner's personality, history, value systems, and ideals to evaluate whether this is a quality relationship.