By David Joel Miller.
You know the features you want in your next car. What features should be on your requirements list for a life spouse and partner?
19 suggested features you should be shopping for in a potential mate.
If you are currently in a relationship – how many of these features does your current mate have? How many do you have and how might you install more of your desired features in the relationship you already have. It is a lot cheaper and more effective to improve the relationship you have than to trade it in on a new one.
1. You have common goals, dreams, and values.
When you are taking a life journey it helps to have a common destination in mind. If you are all about family and that partner of yours would prefer to avoid children and relatives you are headed for a fork in the road.
Religious and political differences are not insurmountable but if you potential partner plans to be a missionary recruiting for a religion you do not share, neither of you are likely to be happy.
Does one of you expect the woman to be a stay at home mother while the other is thinking dual-career relationship?
2. They trust you, which helps you trust them.
Starting a relationship off when one of you has “trust issues” is a dangerous journey.
Behaving in ways that reduce or damage that trust makes for a relationship headed in the wrong direction.
Partners who do not trust each other are at an extra risk to become controlling. Over time that control can turn to abuse.
3. They know about your defects and accept you anyway.
Far too many relationships begin by one or both of the parties hiding their true selves. If you feel you can’t be who you truly are around this other person then reconsider the relationship. Over time it will get incredibly difficult to hide your inner self.
If that other person can’t accept you for who you are in the beginning, eventually they will feel tricked and trapped. A relationship that begins with deception is headed for disaster.
4. They can tell you the things they like about you.
If your potential partner spends most of your together time talking about the things that are wrong with you and insists you need to change – beware.
Couples who, in the midst of conflict can still think of things they like about each other can work through difficulties. If that potential partner can’t see anything good about you, then you will never be their first choice.
Why would you prefer to be with a person who sees you as inherently defective? You are better off alone than in a relationship that will constantly pull you down.
5. You feel good when you are with them.
You should not have to suffer to be with this other person. Times together should feel like fun. If it feels scary, unhappy or anxiety provoking to be with this other person, your nerves, the ones that signal you emotionally, are telling you to beware.
6. You are their star, not a supporting role.
Supporting roles are second place behind the star. If you are just a person to be with, eventually your partner will look for someone to be in the starring role opposite them in their life script.
You deserve to be the first choice in someone’s life.
7. They make time for you, not make you fit their schedule.
A good relationship is built on shared experiences. You need to know that this other person would like to be with you more than to be doing something else.
Granted life is busy these days and earning a living can take a lot of time. But you need to know that this partner of yours will make you and your needs a priority.
8. You do not have to give up “me” for there to be an “US.”
In the early stages of relationships, people want to be together a lot. For the relationship to thrive there will need to be a time when you each are able to have your own separate lives as well as your life together. Do you have to give up family or friends to be with this person? Are their hobbies or activities that you enjoy that the other person insists you give up to be with them?
Is this about them controlling you and trying to change you to be acceptable to them or are they right that you need to give up some unhealthy people in your life?
9. They do not expect you to always be available when they want you.
A healthy relationship is when there is give and take. If your potential partner demands you make them your one and only priority then this is a bad sign. Your partner should want to be with you but also should understand that there are times when other people and activities need your attention.
10. They do not need to get everything their way and win all the arguments.
Does this significant other of yours insist that they need to get their way all the time? Or can they compromise? Does giving in feel like losing to them?
11. They fit in with your family and friends not cut you off from them.
A good relationship should be a compliment to your existing life not a replacement for those other relationships in your life.
12. They are able to admit when they are wrong.
The longer you are with someone the more times each of you will find out that you made a mistake. Being able to admit those mistakes and move on will help heal any conflicts you two may have.
Some people can admit their errors and try to change. Other people will keep arguing till they make you wrong. Before long you will begin to think either you are going crazy or this person just can’t accept ever being wrong.
A person who thinks they are never wrong can be extremely difficult to live with after a very short time.
13. They are rarely boring.
Relationships do not need to be thrill rides full of adrenaline. But if you find yourself being bored when you are around this other person, you are in for a lot more boring when they are the primary person in your life.
15. Being with them is not a competition.
A relationship is a collaboration, not a competition. Constantly trying to outdo each other becomes old. Look for someone who can enjoy your triumphs and for whom you can cheer, not a partner that always needs to upstage you.
16. They admit their problems and are working on them.
If your potential partner is working to become the best they can be there is always room for improvement. It is the very annoying person who insists that the way they are is “just the way I am” and that you need to change to accommodate them. If they are not willing to work on themselves, they are not likely to be willing to work on the relationship when those inevitable problems arise.
17. They are not moody and let you know why they are feeling down or distant.
Someone who is constantly moody is not someone you can create a happy relationship with. Understand we all have our moods. Some people struggle with serious mental illnesses, depression or anxiety. You can still have a great relationship together.
What that other person needs to be able to do is to communicate with you about their moods and to let you know that these moody times are about them not about it being your job to make them feel any one way. They also need to be working on themselves not expecting you to adapt yourself to their mood.
18. They are past the impulsive years and ready to be responsible.
Growing up is a process. Many people go through impulsive times. They make choices, try on new things and grow.
Make sure that your potential partner is past those stages before it becomes too serious.
It is not fun to stay home with the children while your partner is off in another city having fun.
Do they work? Pay their bills and are they off probation? You are getting their past as part of the deal. Is their wreckage involved? Are student loans in default?
19. They are not trying to change you.
Change is a part of life. In any relationship, both people change over time. You want to be changing in the same direction and also be accepting of the way your partner changes.
What is especially bad for any relationship is when one party in the relationship insists that the other person change to suit them.
Be wary of someone who says they would be willing to like you if only you could change into someone else more to their liking.
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There are 19 features your potential mate should have. There are likely others features you may have on your list. What features would make someone an “ideal” partner for you?For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.