Many people go into the dating world with a checklist of what they want in a partner: good looks, good job, financial success, etc. The problem with these lists, however, is that they tend to be only surface deep. Sure, it would be great to meet someone who is rich, good-looking and has a great job—but live with someone who is great looking, rich and…who behaves like an arrogant, unkind human being? No thanks.
If you’re going to make a list regarding your potential future mate, don’t get lost in the fluff. Don’t be fooled by people’s covers—true character comes from the inside. Go beyond the surface criteria and search for the qualities that truly sustain healthy relationships.
After working with countless couples over the years, here are some of the main qualities I’ve found that are key for creating the most fulfilling relationships:
1. Accountable: All human beings make mistakes—it’s simply the nature of being human. The litmus test though, is — can this person own his/her mistakes? If not, be prepared for a very difficult ride. If someone frequently becomes defensive or reactive when you try to discuss your upset, there is little room to solve issues. Look for accountability!
2. Grounded: When life gets tough (which it will) you want someone who can manage the storm without creating a bigger one themself. Watch out for people who tend to over-react, blow up, fly off the handle, etc. The last thing you need is to get into a relationship with someone around whom you will have to spend your life walking on eggshells. Don’t do it!
3. Trustworthy: If you can’t trust who you’re with, your relationship will be on shaky ground…always. Tune into the person’s history around affairs, lying and integrity–and dare to see what you see. Don’t think that you will change him/her.
4. Kind: It goes without saying that kindness is vital in relationships. It won’t matter what a person looks like or how popular, famous or rich they are if they treat you meanly or if you feel bad in their company. It should feel good to be in this person’s presence. If it doesn’t, be prepared walk away before you get too involved.
5. Humble: Confidence is great, but arrogance is a huge turn off. Be sure the person you’re with has the humility of knowing that s/he is no better than you or anyone else. Be sure s/he sees you and treats you as an equal from the beginning—and treats others as equals as well.
When it comes to finding a life partner, look beyond the surface. Have clarity about the relationship you want and know which qualities are necessary for that to happen.
Challenge: Look over the qualities above and assess whether or not these are present when you’re looking for a life partner. Come up with your own list of qualities and decide which ones are non-negotiable for you and which ones are preferences, but not deal breakers. Be confident enough to move on if key qualities are not present.