You’ve met that special someone and already you’re fantasizing about your time together. If you’re younger, you may be picturing what your children would look like, how their last name or their family might fit with yours, and playing and traveling and eventually growing old together. That’s natural, but if you want to improve upon the formidable odds of that actually coming to fruition, give it some more honest thought. As a life partnership, this will inevitably boil down to someone you can help and will help you on a daily basis.
Good looks, sexual chemistry, common interests, being both interested and interesting, financial or social status, and the like may get us interested in someone as a life partner, but here are seven qualities I have posed in the form of seven questions that will mean so much more to having your relationship work in the longer run. These apply equally whether you are a man or a woman, and your honest answers to these questions could be instrumental to your sustained future happiness together.
1. Do they have a light loving touch and good (compatible) sense of humor? It’s not just one thing to make you laugh or to laugh at your jokes, but how do they see life and does that transfer into a light and uplifting or heavy, downtrodden approach? Is their attitude based on fear or love? Folks with a truly complete loving sense of humor about life are not prone to obsessive worrying, anger, or stinginess. How do they perform under stress and pressure? You are going to have obstacles come up and how might they deal with them lightly?
2. Do they have a compatible energy? Opposites may attract, but be cognizant of issues such as anger, self-esteem, and insecurity. How do they treat others outside of your relationship (family, co-workers, service people, neighbors, friends, authority figures, etc.). And for their physical energy, are they sedentary when you are anxious to get going? Are they doers or watchers? Do they attract drama or not? Do the basic aspects of their life such as available time work with yours?
3. Are they low maintenance in the social sense? Do they need to constantly be the center of attention even if they handle it well? Can they both be quiet or jump into conversations? Can they comfortably engage with others in whatever the role? Are they reasonably self-confident and comfortable in their own skin or need outside stimuli (adulation, attention, drugs, food, alcohol, etc.) to constantly prop them up and keep them happily energized? If they have an addictive personality, does that mesh with yours? Must they always be right or win an argument?
4. Can they stand on their own two feet? In other words, are they independent or needy? Do they need or want to take advantage of or lean on others… take things for granted? The majority of the people that I’ve coached have shared with me that their most devastating failures when they entered into new relationships inevitably came at times of neediness. (Neediness can translate into needing a social or activity partner, a sexual parter, someone to parent with, elevate their social status, provide a better lifestyle, improve finances or simply pay the bills, have someone to take care of or be taken care of by, or simply dissolve loneliness issues.) The best combination is for each of you not to “need” the other, but rather to “want” and selectively choose the other.
5. Forget the issue of sexual chemistry for a moment and examine the different issue of “intimate chemistry.” Do you have that together? Can they honestly share, both volunteering and listening without judgment? Can they focus upon you as well as themselves? Do they hold back and if so, is that okay with you? Are you enjoying and growing from this intimate dance together because it’s crucial in helping your relationship last, let alone keeping the sexual fires burning.
6. Are your values compatible for both of you? Religion, politics, money, having and raising children, habits, and lifestyle are often the major areas of contention, but also be on the lookout for other areas that may bother you over time. With work, differences in these areas can be resolved, but nonetheless it’s best to get them out in the open early in the relationship.
7. Do they possess what I call the restorative qualities? Life will have its detours and someone who is resilient, patient, kind, open, forgiving, curious, tender, loving and generous may be so much more valuable than a current pretty face, hot body, or financially or socially potent partner.
My clients have often volunteered that they never should have settled for less than the best, and that they would rather have no relationship than be in a bad one. With that in mind, realize that there are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions, but rather does your potential partner match you. The quicker and more honest you are with these, the better you are situated to move on together or apart.