How do you know you’ve found “the one”? What are the best qualities in a partner, the ones that will stick around long after the early stages of puppy love wear off, the ones that mean you’ve found someone to love for the rest of your life? After the initial stage of lust and attraction wears off, relationships will either fizzle out or lead to something more. However, long-term doesn’t always equal healthy. If you want to live happily ever after, look for these qualities as early as the first few dates to find someone ready to be your true love:
The best partner doesn’t think of only his own needs; he’s always concerned about yours as well. He’s there to offer you the emotional support you need to make it through difficult and stressful times. He’s happy for you and your accomplishments, and he’s encouraging when you need to do something big in order to meet your own personal goals. The wrong partner doesn’t like when you achieve things that might mean you’re more successful than he is, and he doesn’t appreciate when you have goals that don’t involve him. To have a truly healthy relationship, you also have to be equally supportive of your partner.
The best boyfriend or girlfriend is supportive and considers your relationship a priority, but she’s also her own person. She doesn’t put her life on hold for the relationship, and she doesn’t expect you to drop everything and everyone for her at all times. She encourages you to go out with friends on occasion, just as she does. She’s communicative and patient when misunderstandings arise.
The longer you’re with someone, the less likely you are to put as much effort into the time you spend together. A naturally romantic partner makes for one of the best boyfriends or girlfriends. Cosmopolitan reports that 40 percent of women consider their partners “not often” or “never” romantic, even though 75 percent of men consider themselves romantic consistently. The issue may be a lack of communication or a lack of recognition.
Rather than simply going through the emotions of the stereotypical romance – flowers, chocolates, jewelry, fancy dinners — the true romantic tailors each experience to her loved one. If your partner considers herself a geek, shower her with cute pop culture figurines or the next Blu-ray set of her favorite show. If he loves sports, treat him to tickets to his favorite team’s game. Besides grand romantic gestures, the little things can also make a big difference. Small acts like hiding a love note in your loved one’s lunch box or offering her a foot rub after a long day at work can make all the difference.
The best partner is willing to compromise and put the two of you as a couple above his own personal wants and needs — on some occasions. Likewise, you should compromise as well, but it should be equal so one partner doesn’t feel that she’s giving up more than the other. Don’t expect a partner to give up everything that defines him, but do expect him to be willing to talk over major conflicts and propose solutions you can both live with.
Compromise can lead couples willing to put in the extra work to have a fulfilling relationship, but an even better quality to find in a boyfriend or girlfriend is to search out a kindred spirit so there’s less of a need for compromise to begin with. You should agree whether marriage is something you want to strive for and whether you want to have children. Ideally, you’d also agree on religion and politics, although some compromising couples could make differences in those areas work.
A kindred spirit will also have a similar sense of adventure as you. Is one of you willing to move if the other gets a job in a different city, state or even country? Do you both agree on whether a metropolitan, suburban or rural area is the ideal place to call home? A compatible partner also has enough similar interests that you have plenty to talk about and experience together.
While the perfect partner isn’t the same for everyone, your perfect partner should at least have these qualities. Don’t forget that the perfect partner deserves a perfect boyfriend or girlfriend, too. Strive to give as ell as receive everything you want from your partner, and your relationship will have a better chance of long-term success.