• Nineteen Magazine

How To Know What You Want In A Partner

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

This guest post was written by Sas of the blog Life of Sas.

Relationships can be a source of support and love and happiness, or they can be a source of stress, anxiety, anger, and more. The biggest component of your relationship besides you is (big surprise!) your partner. Over the years, you will have many people who express interest in you romantically. But how do you know if you are interested in them? How do you decide if they are someone you are willing to give yourself to romantically and eventually maybe even put down roots with? Deciding if the person you are with is the one you want to buy a house with, have kids with, spend the rest of your life with is a big decision that at times can feel stressful. Here are 5 things to consider when determining what to look for in a partner. 

Make A List Of Attributes You Are Looking For In A Partner Write out everything you are looking for in a prospective partner, no matter how silly it may seem. Just write out the characteristics and traits of your dream partner. After you finish, look over your list again and look at it realistically. Which attributes are ideal and which ones are absolutely non-negotiable? Rank your top 10 characteristics, and the top 5 should be things that are non-negotiable to you. Realize that these things may change over time, so go back through and check over your list every once in a while. 

Understand that love isn’t always fireworks Yes, sometimes you can experience that immediate feeling of knowing, but don’t discount a healthy relationship where you feel content just because there aren’t fireworks inside you all the time. The feeling of love comes in all shapes and sizes, only you will be able to know what it feels like for you. The love you see on TV is not always an accurate depiction of love in real life.  Sometimes love can feel like fireworks or butterflies, sometimes it feels like coming home after a long day out in the cold of winter, taking your shoes off, and warming up by the big warm fire in your fireplace. Neither one of those feelings are right or wrong, and they certainly are not the only ways love can feel like. Some people feel like they experienced love at first sight, some people had love grow slowly but surely within their hearts. No one else can tell you what love should feel like, it is up to you to decide what it feels like to you and up to you alone. 

Pay attention to their actions Pay attention to how they treat others and how the people close to you respond to them. That will show you so much more than just what they say. When you first start getting to know somebody, you will often talk and talk and talk. About your past, your present, your future, your beliefs, your passions, all of it. You might stay up all night talking and getting to know one another. You might feel after a very short period of time that you really know them after all the talking you have done.  The truth is you don’t. You don’t truly know who someone really is until you have had enough time to see that their words match their beliefs and their actions match their words. Talking is easy because you can say whatever you want. It is easy to say all the right things, it is much harder to back them up with your actions over an extended period of time.  Watch very closely how your potential partner treats others. How do they treat you? Their friends? Their family? How do they treat servers/waiters/etc? This will show you how they will treat you in the future much more than their words ever will. How do other people treat them or react to them? Do your friends and family like them? Although some people just simply won’t get along, if all of your friends and family don’t like them it could be because they see signs of your relationship turning toxic in the future. 

Go with your gut Your sense of intuition is ultimately something you should always listen to, especially when it comes to someone you could potentially spend the rest of your life with. If something doesn’t feel right or deep down it doesn’t feel like there is a connection, honor that feeling. Someone can seem picture-perfect but if you know in your heart they are not right for you don’t force it. Sometimes the physical chemistry just isn’t there. You can’t force a relationship.  Compatibility is fundamentally different than chemistry in relationships. Compatibility has much more to do with your lifestyle choices and belief systems, where chemistry is something harder to define. It is often described as simply a feeling, it is there or it is not. When people say “it was love at first sight”, what they more than likely should say is “it was positive chemistry at first sight”. Chemistry is often immediately apparent, although I do believe chemistry can grow with time. It is up to you to decide whether or not a relationship where you don’t feel the initial “spark” is worth pursuing or not. Your gut is going to be the thing that tells you whether or not you have chemistry, so listen to it.  A relationship without chemistry can be dull and boring, comfortable yet completely unexciting. A relationship without compatibility however can often be a little TOO wild and exciting. Have you ever seen one of those insane couples who absolutely should not be together? Yet no matter how much they fight they still end up together for another passionate night, unable to “quit” one another? That is exactly what chemistry without compatibility looks like. For your relationship to be successful, fulfilling, and HEALTHY, you need both chemistry and compatibility. Do not settle for just one. 

Be realistic about finding a “perfect match” Not everyone is going to be a perfect match for you, in fact, realistically no one is going to be the perfect match for you. The only person who will ever perfectly align with all of your wants and needs and flaws and strengths and life goals and philosophies is… you.  Everyone is a little bit different because every single person on this earth has an individual set of physical, mental, and spiritual characteristics as well as different life experiences and viewpoints that make them who they are. When you think about it, even with 7+ billion people on this earth, the chances of two people being a perfect match are still infinitesimally small. And the chances of those two people MEETING and falling in love are even smaller.  I don’t say that to make you feel hopeless about ever finding a life partner though. There are probably hundreds of people out there who fit all 10 of the top criteria you put on your list and even more people who meet your top 5. There will be plenty of people you meet throughout your life who you could have a happy and fulfilling relationship with. Don’t expect them to be perfect though because you yourself aren’t even perfect. Have realistic expectations for your relationship and your expectations are much more likely to be met. Everyone has flaws. Strive for an 80% match.  A study by John Gottman shows that roughly for every negative interaction a couple has, they need five positive interactions to balance it out and leave the couple still feeling happy and fulfilled in their relationship. If you feel like you and your partner agree and align on roughly 80% of the important core components of compatibility, then your relationship should easily fall within this 5 to 1 ratio.  I have talked a lot about compatibility in a relationship in this post without going into too much detail on the factors that make you and your partner compatible. If you would like to learn about the factors that can determine if you and your partner are compatible, I wrote a post on my blog going into further detail about this subject.  Author Bio  Sas is a recent college grad living in the great state of Texas with her fiancé and their two pups. She currently works in the wedding industry and enjoys writing for her blog, The Life of Sas. You can connect with her on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest

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