The Relationship Couch

7 Things You Should Look For in a Long-term Partner

3641641090_0fab9beaf4If you’re like most of my clients, you probably have a “type” when you’re looking for love. But after working with couples for almost a decade, I’ve found that there are traits in you and a partner that will help make your relationship work for the long haul. Besides the typical respect and trust, here are 7 more:

1. Willingness to work.

Some couples put their relationships on cruise control. They become comfortable, complacent, and take their partner for granted, etc. But relationships take work. One of my clients, who’s on the brink of divorce, said he thought the love between him and his wife would “just always be there.” He finally realized that their love had to be tended to and nurtured. You want to be with someone who knows relationships take effort and is willing to put in the work. This includes things such as helping with chores, making date night a consistent routine, or leaving your partner’s favorite candy with a loving note after they’ve had a bad day. The little things DO count.

2. Kindness.

Some people use the “wait staff test” – how does your date or mate treat your waiter or waitress? Actually, better yet you should pay attention to how your partner treats you. Is it with kindness or with contempt? Happy couples are really kind to one another. If your date puts you down, mocks or insults you, make sure to speak up. If they keep doing it, it should be a sign to move on.

3. Flexibility.

Some of my clients tear their relationships apart because they think that they’re always right and their partner is wrong. Or they want things their way and don’t leave room for their partner’s opinions. These narrow mindsets don’t work. Instead, be flexible. There’s more than one way of doing things and you need to compromise.

4. Passion.

A common phrase that I hear from my clients is, “We’re more like roommates than lovers.” Find someone that you have passion with and someone who’s willing to work to keep the fire alive. Some of the passion that you have for your partner will naturally fade as the infatuation subsides. But if you put in the effort, you can sustain long-term passion. Be romantic. Tell and show your partner that you desire them.

5. Responsiveness.

When you talk about what you need, how does your date or mate respond? Do they listen, try to understand, and are they open to doing something about it? You want to find someone who will be attentive to your needs.

6. Self-worth.

You and your partner have to believe that you’re worth being loved. People who feel that they are worth it are devoted when it comes to their relationship. They don’t keep an emotional distance from each other. Some of my clients even try to prevent their partner from going above and beyond in their relationship because they don’t think they’re worth it. This hinders love and connection from growing.

7. Vulnerability.

This may be the hardest to do because like a lot of people, you don’t want to get hurt. But you’d have to stay single for the rest of your life, or dabble in casual relationships, if you didn’t ever want to get hurt. It will happen, it’s inevitable. Love is a risk, but being vulnerable is necessary for a strong connection with your partner and also in maintaining long-term passion.

Photo credit: Kamal Zharif /  CC BY