6 Qualities in a Partner That Provide the Best Chance of a Healthy Relationship
By Dr Becky Spelman
We all have our own idea about what the perfect partner would look like. Everyone has their own preferences in terms of physical appearance, values, shared interests, age and other variables. But putting all of that aside, there are some universal qualities that we all hope to find in our ideal mate. These are the personality traits that transcend particulars about specific likes and dislikes. They’re more humanistic and relate more how we relate to one another on an intimate level.
One of the key reasons why so many relationships falter is that we pay too much attention to the surface-level commonalities. And, of course, these are important and are what create the initial attraction and bonding. But looking beyond that, the qualities which offer the best chance for a long-term and healthy relationship are a little more objective. Here are some of the best indicators that your partner could potentially be a long-term match.
They Have a Strong Sense of Independence (They Want You But Don’t Need You)
Magnetism can be sexy and alluring. But attachment can often be overbearing and hard to deal with. When there is so much of an emphasis on “being with you” just for the sake of being with you all of the time, there is little chance of other growth oppurtunities – for either party concerned. It was once said S.N Goenka, a teacher of vipassana style meditation, that “attachment leads to misery.” But this is a transferable idea that can be applied to any area of life. When you’re with someone who has a real sense of who they are, your relationship becomes about actually relating to one another from a mutual point of view instead of adopting the roles of victim and rescuer.
They View a Relationship as a Cooperative (It is “We” Instead of You and I)
When entering into a romantic relationship, it can often be the case that there is a battle for supremacy and for control over certain facets and functions of how you will address issues as they arise. In short, there is a control dynamic – a sense of competition. But this perspective is what keeps many people rooted in conflict and an unending cycle of animosity. You don’t get into a relationship to try and change one another. You enter into a relationship as a partnership. You can each maintain your own individual personality. There is no death of the self as such. But when it comes to what’s right, you look at what’s right for both of you.
There is a Willingness to Communicate (Even in the Most Difficult Situations)
Communication makes every single shortlist of qualities to look for in a partner. In some ways, it’s cliché to mention it. But there’s no getting away from the fact that it represents a truism. For many, the idea of tackling an issue head on – even in a constructive way – seems like torture. These are the individuals who will avoid touchy subjects in the hope that they’ll go away. But this simply creates further problems at a later date. When you’re with someone who’s willing to engage with you in a meaningful way to help resolve conflict, it gives you a solid platform to base your relationship on. If you can rest assured in the knowledge that you always have the option to talk, it makes for a much better atmosphere.
Commitment That Goes Beyond the Good Times
You probably heard the expression fair-weather friends… Well, fair-weather relationships are – unfortunately – just as prevalent. And this follows on partially from the last point. True commitment is a long-term game. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean ignoring all red flags at the outset of a relationship for the sake of making it work. If it’s not a good fit, then it’s not a good fit. But equally, if you’ve found someone who you’re emotionally invested in and they’re willing with to work with you on issues which either yourself or they might be facing, it’s a sign that you can build a successful relationship together. Support and commitment go hand in hand with one another. And as long as there is a willingness to work through difficult patches, you’ll almost always be stronger for it on the other side.
The Ability to Effectively Communicate Emotional Needs (Over Manipulation)
Another facet of communication that is often overlooked is the ability to accurately and effectively communicate your needs. We all have some level of dependency. The very idea of a relationship is not only to share and to love but also receive some of that affection back in return – albeit in a non-conditional manner. For some, their communication style is to withdraw, sulk and drop cryptic hints about what they want. But this is no way to form an effective partnership. If you’ve found someone who’s open and upfront about what they want, that shouldn’t be off-putting. But serve as a positive sign that this person has a well-developed sense of emotional intelligence and isn’t afraid to express themselves.
They Feel Safe Enough to Express Themselves and Be Vulnerable
And finally, again this feeds into the previous point. There can often be a division between what is goes on in someone’s head versus what they’re actually willing to share and vocalise. If you’re with someone who’s constantly unable to express themselves or lower their defences to let you inside, there will be little potential for growth. Part of being in a relationship is about being about to relieve yourself of the burden of your mental and emotional processes. There’s great strength and validation that can be found in opening up in such a meaningful way to your partner. It doesn’t have to take on an air of “poor me.” You can be vulnerable and still retain your dignity. If you find a partner who’s willing to trust you in this way without doing so in a way elicits unwarranted sympathy, you can be confident that it’s a good sign you stand a great chance of building a long-lasting relationship.
About the author:
Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.
***If you’re struggling with your relationships and think you might benefit from speaking to someone, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.
Psychology Today (17th Sept 2020) How Your “Daddy Issues” Damage Your Relationships With Men. Retrieved on 21st September, 2020 from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/social-instincts/202009/the-top-five-predictors-healthy-relationship
Psych Central (8th Jul 2018) 3 Keys to a Strong Relationship. Retrieved on 21st September, 2020 from, https://psychcentral.com/blog/3-keys-to-a-strong-relationship/#:~:text=All%20strong%20relationships%20have%20three,supports%20them%2C%E2%80%9D%20she%20said.
Psychology Today (23rd Jan 2020) How to Know If You Are In a Healthy Relationship. Retrieved on 21st September, 2020 from, https://www.verywellmind.com/all-about-healthy-relationship-4774802
6 Qualities in a Partner That Provide the Best Chance of a Healthy Relationship was last modified: January 7th, 2021 by Dr Becky Spelman
Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioural condition that is often learned and passed down from one generation to the next. It's a dynamic that can take root in any form of relationship, from the romantic to companionships and friendships as well as being observed in caregiving situations......
A co-dependent relationship is a relationship dynamic in which two people are unable to function without the input of the other. You could view this as a state of unconditional love. But there is a difference......
Control mechanisms can come in all types within relationships. We often have the image of a man holding a raised fist against a woman as the stereotype. But a controlling relationship isn't gender-specific or confined to acts of physical violence. It can occur on a sliding scale – even when the in.....
Relationships are the life-blood of our daily experience. There is no avoiding them. We're constantly thrust together with people at work, socially, in public and in family situations who we don't always enjoy the best of relationships with......