When we first started dating, we may not have a concrete list of things that we look for in a potential partner and only start to build up a rough idea over time after experiencing a few relationships. For some of us, we rely on gut feeling and there is nothing wrong with it, except that we have to be very careful that our desire to be with someone is motivated by unresolved issues and emotional baggage that causes us to replay traumatic or destructive pattern in our lives.
Who we choose is not necessarily the ideal companion because we will never have a clear picture of what we should want. We may even find someone incompatible with us on an unconscious level. Without a doubt, no one is perfect but as a guide, these are the key qualities that we should look out for when searching for a partner.
Perfection does not exist in the real world, and everyone comes with their own set of flaws. Instead of seeking perfection, we should find someone who has emotional maturity.
What does emotional maturity mean? It should be someone who reflects on past mistakes and works on improving themselves to be better in the future. They should be open to feedback and interested in changing their behaviors after hearing them. This person should be emotionally stable and think before acting.
Honesty and willingness to be open is important to form deep bonds. He or she should not be building up walls to bock you out and create unnecessary tension in the relationship. Your partner should be resilient, willing to grow and learn to work on the relationship so that it evolves to be better over time.
This is highly related to intimacy which is crucial to feeling connected with someone and increases your sense of satisfaction in the relationship. Your partner should be able to relate to your emotions, your worries, your struggles, and be with you during the high and low points of your life. He or she should be someone who is kind and compassionate, and makes you feel safe being vulnerable in their presence.
Find someone who can make you laugh when times are bad and just be silly with you. He or she who doesn’t take everything too seriously because laughter is the best medicine when it comes to relationships and facing difficulties together in life.
Do not find someone who completes you but someone who remains independent and can be there for you when things go south. It is not wise to mistake fusion or co-dependency with bondedness or connection. Continue maintaining your individuality by enjoying your own interests, keeping your outside friends, try new things and share them with your partner. Likewise, your partner should be doing the same with you.
Choose someone who isn’t afraid to face adversities that life brings. Over time, you will inevitability be faced with illness, loss of loved ones, aging, changes in your mind and body, and you will see each other in your worst forms. Find someone who is not only there to see the sunny side of life, but also able to weather storms when life does not go your way.
Relationships require a lot of hard work and you will both inevitably mess up and hurt each other from time to time. Choose someone who forgives and can accept your apologies after you made mistakes. It is not about having a smooth-sailing relationship but being willing to repair and mend the pieces together.
Do not find perfection
Psychologist John Gottman, Ph.D. conceptualized the “good enough relationship”. He shares that people should not expect their partner to meet all their needs and expect a conflict-free relationship. When you choose a partner, you are committing to a particular set of unresolvable issues that will keep recurring in the relationship.
The objective is not to solve all the problems but learn to treat each other with love, respect, and kindness. Be committed and trust each other, repair the relationship by using good conflict management skills to achieve mutual understanding and compromises.