For years, we've talked about finding the right woman -- someone we can ride the waves of life with, who will stand by our side for better or for worse.
As a man, committing to The One is among the most important decisions we make in life; some may even argue it is the most important.
The person you decide to share your world with may help you plan out your life, pick you up when you’re down, and make you a better person just by virtue of being around you. But when you’re in the midst of that process, it’s difficult to know what traits men want when they’re looking for the lady of their dreams. Moreover, do soulmates really exist? Or is the concept of “the one” just an everlasting myth? Shula Melamed, a relationship and well-being coach, previously told Elite Daily that actively looking for your life partner may actually be counterproductive.
“A healthier and more balanced approach might be to understand that there are many people you can connect with, but that they might not all be relationship material because of one reason or another,” Melamed said. “We have many chances in life to meet and connect, it’s just whether or not we allow ourselves the opportunity to do so."
There's so much that can go into deciding who to share your life with, so I compiled a list of the qualities to look for whenever you feel a spark with someone new.
1. They’re Reliable.
When you’re building a life with someone, one of the key tenants of your relationship is trust. The ability to trust someone, to rely on the fact that you’ll be there for each other through the ups and downs, can be crucial in any relationship.
“Reliability is a key factor to look for in a future spouse,” licensed clinical psychotherapist and Love Victory founder Dr. LeslieBeth Wish previously told elite Daily. “If a partner is responsible in regards to work and their finances, and you can depend on them overall, that’s a good indicator they’ll be a quality life partner.”
2. They’re Respectful.
Another foundational aspect of any healthy relationship is mutual respect. If you and your partner struggle to respect each other’s boundaries and bodies, you might not be dating your life partner.
"To find that your partner respects you would be basically them listening and responding when you basically identify them," Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, EdD, founder of the Breakup Supplement and consultant for Live for Yourself Consulting, previously told Elite Daily. "You go to your partner and you tell them that you need something from them," and they respond well to it.
3. They’re Supportive.
A relationship is made up of two (or more) individuals with their own dreams, goals, and desires. It’s vital that all members of a partnership are supportive of each other’s intentions in order for everyone to thrive.
“Having an SO that encourages, supports, and helps you to believe in yourself can actually enable you to push through the insecurities or self-doubt, overcome the necessary obstacles, and ultimately, achieve your dreams,” Dr. Wish told elite Daily.
4. They’re your best friend.
If you’re building a life with someone, your relationship will encompass not just the serious stuff, but the silly, trivial, more intimate moments, as well. Dating someone who is not just your partner, but your partner-in-crime can make even the smallest of moments into an adventure.
“True lovers always want to be friends at the base,” Dr. Sherrie Campbell, licensed counselor, psychologist, and marriage and family therapist, previously explained to Elite Daily. “It’s not all about sex. Friendship and playing together help couples stay together.”
5. They listen.
Active listening — not just hearing, but taking in everything your partner is saying and engaging with it — can be a fundamental part of any working relationship, romantic or otherwise.
“An ideal life partner is one who can listen to your concerns without reacting too quickly or strongly as well as tackle any issues without getting defensive,” Dr. Campbell said. “When you have a partner who can hear you out when you're feeling vulnerable or they have done something you don't like and they can remain open — that is priceless.”
6. They’re self-aware.
Self-awareness in no way means perfection, but it does imply that both partners are working on themselves individually. Self-awareness can create security, which makes room for vulnerability, communication, and trust.
7. They communicate.
Say it with me for the people in the back: Open and honest communication is the foundation of any happy and healthy relationship. If you and your partner are building a life together, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable communicating with each other.
“Hopefully, there is enough trust that you can at least feel secure enough to talk about why you may be feeling insecure in your relationship,” Dr. Gary Brown said. “Sometimes just opening the door can help alleviate some of the anxiety. Other times, you may get confirmation that there are good reasons that one or both of you are feeling insecure. Having these conversations requires a certain degree of trust, vulnerability, openness, and self-awareness.”
Remember: You don’t need a “life partner,” “soulmate,” or “the one” to make you a complete, happy, healthy person. You are enough, all on your own. But if you’re dating someone you love, and you’re wondering if they’re your ever after, look out for these seven traits.
Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.
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