One major reason finding lasting love proves such a challenge is that the qualities we seek in a partner aren’t always those that lead to enduring intimacy. The reasons we fall in love may be a mystery, but the reasons we stay in love are far less elusive. There may be no such thing as the perfect partner, but an ideal partner can be found in someone who has developed themselves in certain ways that go beyond the surface.
To distinguish between someone who’s good for right now vs. someone you want to wake up next to every day, consider the following list. If there’s someone in your life with these qualities, don’t let go.
- Respect & Independence: Ideal partners value each other’s interests separate from their own. They feel congenial toward and supportive of each other’s overall goals in life. They are sensitive to the other’s wants, desires and feelings, and place them on an equal basis with their own. Ideal partners treat each other with respect and sensitivity. They do not try to control each other with threatening or manipulative behavior. They are respectful of their partner’s distinct personal boundaries, while at the same time remaining close physically and emotionally. Valuing and respecting our partners’ sovereign minds and not trying to change them allows us to really know them as a separate people.
- Accountability: He or she should be able to put aside their ego to be held accountable for any mistakes. Your partner should own up to them rather than place blame on someone or something else.
- Maturity: This statement is not meant to echo the ever-advised mantra that maturity is important. Being “grown up” isn’t merely a matter of not acting like a kid anymore. It’s not about a boyfriend who remembers to take out the trash or a girlfriend who never runs late. These qualities are nice, but to truly grow up means making an active effort to recognize and resolve negative influences from our past. An ideal partner is thus willing to reflect on his or her history and is interested in understanding how old events inform current behaviors.
- Dependability: You should always be able to rely on your partner for anything, from emotional support to upholding their commitments. You don’t want to have to waste time worrying about if they’re acting irresponsibly.
- Sense of Humor: The ideal partner has a sense of humor. A sense of humor can be a lifesaver in a relationship. The ability to laugh at one’s self and at life’s foibles allows a person to maintain a proper perspective when dealing with sensitive issues that arise within the relationship. Couples who are playful and teasing often defuse potentially volatile situations with their humor. A good sense of humor definitely eases the tense moments in a relationship. Being able to laugh at ourselves makes life much easier. Plus, it is one of the life’s greatest joys to be able to laugh with someone close to us.