When you start dating someone, not knowing what your wants and needs are, or what to look for in a relationship, is like going to a specialty restaurant without knowing their menu. The idea of a healthy relationship and an ideal partner differs from person to person, depending upon their needs, such as support, open communication, space, and other relationship aspects.
Naturally, a relationship that went smoothly in your teenage years may not necessarily flow as smoothly in your adult life, and there could be various reasons behind this. Your needs may have changed, you may have evolved as a person, or you may have become more aware of certain aspects of life. So, what do you look for in a life partner to make sure you have a long-term relationship? Still wondering how to answer “What are you looking for?” on a dating site? Or do you keep adding traits to the “I am looking for someone who…” section on such sites?
In this article, our expert Dr. Aman Bhonsle (PhD, PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, helps us unearth the traits one should look for in a partner to ensure a healthy relationship.
What Are You Looking For In A Relationship? 5 Things To Help You Decide
How do you decide what to look for in a relationship with a girl or a guy? Quite often, when we make a list of the things to look for in a life partner, we tend to be guided by certain personal patterns. These patterns are shaped by our past interactions and future plans. And they vary from person to person. Interestingly, what may be a good quality for one person may not necessarily be so for another.
Likewise, most often, people have no clue how to answer “What are you looking for?” on a dating site. This is simply because in this age of social media and instant gratification, people are confused about what they want from a potential partner. But to know what you want from a partner, you need to know the answers to questions such as “What type of relationship are you looking for?” or “What are you seeking in a relationship?” Of course, physical attributes matter, but what we’re hinting at are the values that can make or break your bond.
And there are several factors that determine what we deem as ideal traits in a partner. So, if your friends keep asking you, “What are you looking for in a relationship?,” the answer could lie in what sort of a person you are. Let’s take a look at certain aspects of our lives that determine what we’re looking for in a relationship:
● Past relationships: Our past relationship mistakes often shape our judgment on what we are looking for in a relationship. So, if we’ve had issues with a narcissistic or aggressive partner in the past, we will stay away from such people in future
● Life goals: Where we see ourselves in future determines what we are looking for in a relationship or a potential partner. So, life goals, in terms of financial goals, status goals, and happiness goals, pave the path for what we want in our partners. Likewise, one needs to know the answer to “What kind of relationship do you want?” to determine what one wants in a partner. Of course, the list of things you want from a partner in casual dating will vary from a potential long-term relationship
● Professional aspirations: Our careers and their respective demands often determine what we want in a relationship. You may want a partner who will look after the house while you slog at work or someone who earns the bread while you take care of the
● Shared interests: Of course, what we like and dislike shapes our outlook on what we want from relationships. So, if you love reading and intellectual discussions, you will look for a partner who complements and supports that aspect of your personality. If
you’re someone who loves traveling, you’ll look for someone who can’t stay off the road. Of course, partners may like different things, but they shouldn’t be poles apart
● Family and friends: A large part of our lives is shaped by our upbringing and our immediate surroundings, meaning our family and friends. So, it’s obvious that they will have a role to play in what we look for in a partner. Plus, it’s always great to have someone who gels well with our friends and family members
17 Things To Look For In A Relationship
So, what do you look for in a life partner? To find the answer to this question, it is critical to assess all the things you look and hope for in a life partner. So, you need to know how to choose a life partner. Because you can’t love a person without knowing what they want and what they are expecting from you in the relationship.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Look for standard qualities such as integrity, patience, trust, socio-cultural background and respect.” If you are wondering what to look for in a relationship with a girl or a guy, here are 17 tried-and-tested qualities to assess the potential of a partner:
One of the major things to look for in a life partner is trustworthiness. Dr. Bhonsle says, “Figure out whether you are willing to trust them completely, and then win their trust. Put each other first. With a partner who is sure about you and doesn’t doubt your intentions, you will have a solid foundation.”
Trust involves integrity and honesty. It goes way beyond your doubts of them cheating on you when the two of you are apart. It’s about feeling safe with them. It’s knowing they won’t do anything to hurt you intentionally. Be it a physical kind of ache or mental. You and your partner can try trust exercises to improve relationship. The act of giving and receiving trust is one among the list of qualities to look for in a man. as well as one of the major signs of a healthy relationship.
2. Acts of kindness
One of the major values to look for in a relationship is kindness. What do you look for in a partner if not contentment and comfort? After all, we live in a world that’s harsh and cruel. You don’t want to experience the same kind of meanness when you get back home after a hectic day. It will disrupt your mental peace and sanity if you are exposed to spiteful and mean-minded behavior from your partner. “Everybody deserves a partner who will treat them kindly. Random acts of kindness are what sustain the relationship,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
Related Reading: 10 Biggest Priorities In A Relationship
3. The way they treat others
They are not a good person if they treat you nicely but do not treat those beneath their social strata well. Do they talk rudely to waiters? That’s a big red flag. Examples of what to look for in a relationship should definitely include generosity and benevolence.
If your partner is verbally abusive while interacting with someone else, it’s a clear reflection of the kind of person they are. An affable demeanor is one of the most important values to look for in a relationship.
4. Comprehending silence
The ability to understand silence is one of top-most priorities on the list of qualities to look for in a man or a woman. It’s not a bad thing to be a prattler. But the stillness of being with your partner, not saying anything to each other but just being happy and peaceful in one another’s presence matters so much more than affirming the strength of a relationship based on how vocal you two are.
When your partner understands why you’re silent and vice versa, you are bound to have peace in your relationship. The ability to be silent is also a necessary trait of a good listener. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should give your partner the silent treatment.
Related Reading: Expectations In Relationships: The Right Way To Manage Them
5. The ability to compromise
Still wondering what to look for in a relationship? “Wherever you’re headed in a relationship, make sure that journey has pitstops for compromises. Figure out how you can stay on your toes for each other. Be in each other’s radars. When you love someone, always know how to address their needs even if it means you have to compromise on yours,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
But compromising doesn’t mean settling for the bare minimum or adjusting to an uncomfortable situation. Though a little compromise here and there won’t hurt your self- esteem. It simply means you wish to settle the situation at hand by coming to a mutual understanding. The ability to agree to disagree is one of the things to look for in a relationship and an ideal partner.
One of the most significant traits to look for in a relationship partner is the willingness and ability to value your space and boundaries. Make sure they know what boundaries are and where to draw the line. This doesn’t mean you wish to cut your partner off from a particular aspect of your life. It just means you are keen on protecting your personal space and rationality.
There can be both physical and emotional boundaries in relationships. They help you retain your identity and personal space. Nobody has the right to change or manipulate your way of thinking or your lifestyle. Likewise, nobody can force you into getting intimate or resort to controlling behavior.
7. Being supportive
If you’re wondering what to look for in a partner in long-term relationships, support is a non- negotiable. Imagine being with someone who doesn’t support your dreams and ambitions. How disturbing is that! So, you love someone and they claim to love you back, but they don’t make you feel loved. In fact, they are jealous of your success and accomplishments. That, my friend, is not true love.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “If they haven’t been a supportive partner from the beginning, then they aren’t the one for you. But if some nuanced situation has led to an unsupportive nature in your partner, you can always communicate openly and assess the situation.
“At what end of the support spectrum do they fall? Are they unemployed and can’t support you financially? Have they recently lost a loved one and are emotionally unavailable to support you? Find out why the support is missing. Be there for each other like a rock. Build a relationship that is so strong that no wind on earth can shake the roots of your relationship.”
Related Reading: 11 Relationship Qualities That Are a Must-Have For A Happy Life
Accountability and trust are two sides of the same coin. Accountability isn’t just a character trait, it’s a skill one needs to learn and inculcate, and that’s why it is an important addition to your list of values to look for in a relationship.
When you see signs of manipulation in a relationship, confront your partner. If they take accountability for their actions and start working on them, it’s a good sign. Being accountable means acknowledging and owning up to the hurt they’ve caused, be it intentionally or unintentionally. It basically means taking responsibility for your actions and words. All of these lead to a healthy foundation for trust and reliability.
9. Resolving conflicts
If you love someone, you wouldn’t want to keep fighting over trivial issues. You fight, you resolve, you go on loving each other – that’s how a successful relationship works. That’s the circle of love. And the ability to resolve conflicts by weighing in both sides and maintaining mutual respect is what to look for in a partner if you want a long-term bond.
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10. Being goofy together
You should definitely look for someone easy-going, who can make you laugh. “Not every moment in life has to be serious. There need to be moments of fun and playfulness. A relationship should be a safe space where the two of you can share a good laugh, pull each other’s legs, and go on adventures. Being goofy together is the key to emotional wellness,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
Life gets difficult sometimes, and being with the person you love, while finding reasons to be silly and giggling with each other, always makes things better. Here’s why being goofy together is important:
● It helps you manage stress
● It boosts your ability to be creative
● It offers mental peace
11. Compatible love languages
One of the most important things I’ve learnt recently is this — just because a person isn’t loving you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Each one has a different way of expressing love. Your love language could differ from your partner’s. Connect with your partner on a deeper level and try to understand their way of showing love.
Allow me to pen a personal example. My way of showing love is words of affirmation. I will tell you how much I love you in poetry, prose and song lyrics. But that isn’t how my partner shows love. His way of loving is by making me laugh, by being helpful. He helps me out in whatever I do. Never lets me feel alone. Whether it’s household chores or going to get groceries, he is always there.
If you often keep wondering what to look for in a relationship with a guy/girl, curiosity could be the answer. In fact, curiosity won’t kill the cat in this instance. It is, in fact, one of the major traits to look for in a relationship.
“Know what their core values are. Be curious. Ask questions about their exes, their family members, their long-lost friends, and their childhood. Figure out whether they are equally willing to know about you and your interests,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
Here’s what being curious entails:
● It doesn’t mean prying or being nosey
● It means you are interested in their thoughts and life goals
● It’s a strong desire to get to know your partner’s thoughts and feelings
Related Reading: Obsessive Love And Clingy Affairs – Early Signs And Dealing With It
13. Physical and emotional intimacy
Being both physically and emotionally intimate is crucial to a good relationship. Physical intimacy is when you both address each other’s needs for physical touch and closeness and fulfill them. Physical intimacy is not just about sex. It also includes gentle acts of physical affection, such as hugging, planting kisses on the forehead, cuddling, and holding hands.
Emotional intimacy entails the act of trusting your partner enough to be able to share all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities with them without any fear of being judged. You can also ask your partner certain questions to build emotional intimacy. Whether you’re asking what to look for in a guy for marriage or what to look for in a girl for a long-term relationship, intimacy should feature on your list.
The ability to be a team player is what to look for in a guy for marriage – and in a girl, as well. Elements such as healthy communication, compromising without guilt-tripping your significant other, being helpful, and putting in effort to make the relationship work are valuable parts of this trait.
Remember, one should never be selfish in a good relationship. Here are some examples of what to look for in a relationship when teamwork is an essential trait for you:
● Your partner should always think for the two of you before making any major decision
● They should share all the responsibilities with you
● Both should acknowledge each other’s strengths and use it to build a stronger foundation
One of the most important traits to look for in a relationship partner is consistency. Are they any different from when you met them for the first time? Their consistency in being available for you or helping you out shouldn’t change if the relationship has come a long way. When your partner is consistent, it means they are dependable and reliable.
If you have had a fall out with your partner, then being consistent in your efforts to make amends will help you build that bond again. It’s not going to be easy, but consistency will pave the way. Be there for your partner, be romantic, flirt with each other even if your relationship is 20 years old. It doesn’t matter. The older the relationship, the more love there should be in it.
Related Reading: Expectations In Relationships: The Right Way To Manage Them
16. Emotional maturity
When you have an emotionally mature partner, other essentials of a relationship – trust, honesty, and consistency – automatically fall in place. If you’re looking for a long-term or ideal relationship, emotional maturity is one of the prime traits you should look for. When a person is emotionally mature, they.
● Don’t deny their flaws and make an effort to work on them instead
● Can control their emotions, be it anger or joy
● Are more open-minded and don’t judge you for your past or emotional baggage
● Are willing to make progress by keeping their past trauma and failures aside
Still wondering what to look for in a relationship with a guy or a girl? Well, empathy is perhaps one of the most significant qualities to look for in a relationship. Nobody is perfect, and we all have flaws and quirks. If your partner understands why you are the way you are, without being judgmental, that’s half the job done. While lack of empathy can ruin your relationship, your bond is sure to turn stronger with time if you have the space to be vulnerable. It will also help you own up to your flaws and grow as a person, without being in denial.
- What you look for in a relationship changes as you evolve and develop new interests
and life goals. It also lies in the answer to “What type of relationship are you looking
- Certain aspects that determine what you look for in a relationship are your past
relationships, family and friends, life goals, interests, and professional aspirations
- Some of the common traits that all should look for in a relationship are trust,
kindness, consistency, empathy, emotional maturity, accountability, and the ability to
A perfect relationship doesn’t exist. But you can make it perfect for you by finding someone you’re on the same page with. Dr. Bhonsle says, “The things to look for in a relationship are the things you would look for in a shirt – comfort, quality, and durability.” Also, as this article has already stated, the answer to “What are you looking for in a relationship?” lies in your own past, personality traits, and future plans. Ask yourself, “What do I seek in a relationship?” So, we hope you now have a clear idea of what to look for in a relationship.
Despite this, you and your partner may have your share of difference, arguments and fight. But as long as you know which core values to look for in a relationship, you will be able to resolve your differences, compromise. That’s what makes a relationship thrive. So, what are you waiting for? Go, find love!