by: E.B. Johnson
It can be hard to describe the emotions we feel when we finally meet that “forever person” we want to spend our lives with. There’s excitement, but also a nervousness too. It’s not easy to open up to someone else, and it can be even more challenging to make the kind of compromises it takes to withstand the test of time.
How do we know when we’ve found the right person? How do we know this is the individual we’re meant to share and grow with? While we all need and want different things from our relationships (and our lives) there are a few core traits we should look for before we commit to something long term. From empathy to humor and emotional intelligence — getting it right in love requires us to first to build some understanding and boundaries.
You can build relationships which last.
We live in a disposable society. Try as we might to find the next best thing, however, there are some elements of life we just can’t approach that way. Our relationships are one of them. If we want to build partnerships that support us and nurture us through this life, we have to stop seeing them as throwaway objects or temporary pit stops. We have to look for partners who have what we want right out of the gate. And we have to look for people who are good and honest.
Are you ready to settle down with someone and build a future with them? Are you ready to invest yourself in one partnership and one vision? In order to do this, you have to get clear on what you want and put yourself in the right places to meet someone with the mental and emotional depth you need.
It’s not all about the other person, though. To attract the right partner, you first have to be the right partner yourself. Cultivate a greater self-confidence. Know who you are and what you want from your life. Don’t look to someone else to give you a sense of validation or belonging. Don’t live your life expecting a relationship to make you happy. Find those things for yourself and then find a partner and a partnership which complements it.
The qualities you should be seeking in a long-term partner.
Differing as our ideal partner types might be, there are core qualities we should all seek in someone we want to open up and grow with for the long-term. Fully realized boundaries, basic empathy, and a sense of humor are all important. As well as a willingness to communicate and an internal confidence, that brings stability to your relationship.
Realized ground rules
We should all seek partners who have standards and boundaries that they are willing to defend. This proves that they’ve taken time to really consider what matters to them, and that they’re the type of person who has what it takes to protect what’s theirs. At the same time, they need to have a mutual respect for your boundaries and the things which aren’t acceptable to you.
Confidence is attractive because it indicates surety and a certain kind of comfort. The confident partner isn’t one who is clingy, or who needs your constant validation. They don’t need you to tell them how great they are — they’re confident in themselves and happy with who they are as a person (and where they’re at in life). Likewise, the confident partner is sure enough in themselves to encourage you to live your best possible life.
While empathy seems like a basic part of our human nature, it can seem greatly lacking from time-to-time in today’s society. We struggle to look beyond our own egos sometimes, and in that we struggle to see what other people are battling with. Unable to put ourselves in their shoes, we stumble, push them away, and react badly to their choices. A good partner should be able to empathize with you, and should seek to understand you (even when they don’t like the choices or beliefs being expressed).
Communication is necessary in any successful relationship — be it platonic or romantic. In order to stay on the same page, we have to talk to one another, open up with one another, and be willing to be vulnerable with one another. Without that we can find ourselves divided and struggling against miscommunications and escalated conflict, which makes compromise impossible.
Sense of humor
A sense of humor is invaluable, especially in an increasingly chaotic world. It can’t all be misery and hardship all the time. One of the most powerful things we can do in the midst of suffering is to find the light in it. Learning how to laugh at ourselves, our mistakes, and the setbacks we experience can be therapeutic. It can also help us to reveal the silver-lining and relieve the intense pressure we might deal with. A partner who can make you laugh is one who can help you through the hard times.
Solid emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the deep abiding knowledge of self which allows you to see the benefits and shortcomings of your emotions. A partner or a spouse with a high emotional intelligence can see how their emotions work, and they understand how the same emotions work in others. For this reason, they are able to approach those they love with a greater amount of compassion and understanding. It makes it easier for both parties to work together and remain focused on their future goals.
How to prepare yourself for a forever relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, knowing what you need or want in the other person is only a small part of building the perfect relationship. Before you can bring the right person into your life, you need to be the right partner for that person. You can’t expect someone to change your life for you, or make you better for simply being in your life.
1. Be the partner you seek to attract
It’s not fair to expect someone spectacular and balanced to come into your life when you yourself don’t exhibit those traits. Would you want someone you love to settle for someone who was putting in less effort than they expected to get in return? Probably not. Why, then, do we do this with those we want to spend forever with? To attract a good partner, you first have to be a good prospect.
Figure out who you are as a person and become that person with the fullness of your heart. Build fulfilling social circles that encourage you and build you up. Pursue a career that allows you to provide; something which challenges you and pushes you. Beyond all of this, however, cultivate an unbreakable sense of self-worth.
Do whatever it is that makes you happy on your own. Put yourself in the spaces and the environments which make you feel comfortable and fulfilled. The happier you are in space and in self, the easier it will become to make contact with someone who is moving the same direction in life. Detach yourself from the idea that someone else will make you happy. Be happy on your own, heal yourself, and become the kind of partner you want to attract.
2. Try meeting your own needs
Are you seeking a relationship with the expectation of someone else carrying the burden of your life for you? Do you think they will do all the heavy lifting while you take a passenger seat? Unfortunately, this is not how life works. No one wants to provide for someone who is capable of providing for themselves — especially when that person expects it with little gratitude. If you want a relationship that lasts, become a pro at meeting your own needs.
What is that you need with it comes to emotional fulfillment? What do you need from your career or your environment in order to feel like you are able to provide for yourself? Do for yourself. Get what you want on your own. Dig deep and find ways to meet your own needs, and stop looking for other people you can depend on to do it.
This meeting of your own needs is a powerful thing. It will bolster a sense of independence in you and help you to see how worthy and capable you are on your own. This is attractive to the strong and capable person, who can bring into your life a genuine sense of support and compassion. Take a step back and take an honest look at yourself. Are you seeking a relationship out of a sense of want, or a sense of need? The answer makes a big difference.
3. Cultivate self-confidence
We often think of confidence as something which relates to our careers, or our personal healing, but we don’t always consider how crucial it is where romance and intimacy are concerned. Self-confidence is key in attracting partners who respect us and the things we want for ourselves. When we have low self-confidence, we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would harm us, or those who want to take advantage of us.
Before you leap into the deep waters of a serious relationship, spend some time cultivating a greater self-confidence. You have a right to thrive within a relationship that is everything you want and more. You deserve to be happy. In order for all those things to happen, though, you have to earnestly believe in your right and your ability to achieve those things.
Build up your self-confidence by first focusing on the things you love about your spirit and your body. What things do you do well? What physical traits or attributes do you find most beautiful? Once you’ve had some time to get comfortable celebrating those things, zero in on the things you see as shortcomings or weaknesses. What can you change about them? How do they come together to complement your strengths and make you a whole person?
4. Set standards and boundaries
Our standards and our boundaries are so important, but we so easily push them aside at the offer of a potential relationship. It’s our intimate relationships, though, in which these standards and boundaries become most important. We need them to communicate (to the world and ourselves) what we want and what we expect from our environments and the people we choose to fill them with.
Start with your standards. What is most important to you in a partner and in a relationship? What are you absolutely unwilling to compromise on? Think about the kind of person you want to be beside you in your lowest moments. When things are darkest, what type of individual needs to be there to support you?
After prioritizing your standards, think about what behaviors and activities you are and aren’t willing to accept. These are our boundary lines, and one of the primary ways in which we communicate what’s expected from our partners as our relationships age and change. Embrace your right to be treated with honor, compassion, and respect. Then, look for someone who openly embraces these things in thought, word, and deed.
5. Establish a clear view of the future
What do you see when you envision your future? Relationship and intimate partners aside — what do you imagine your life to look like when you look back on it from the final finish line? Pinpointing the things we want from our futures is important. Long-term relationships aren’t those in which we like the same colors and the same pastimes. They’re the ones in which both partners have the same vision for the future and the same overarching goals.
Don’t go running into a relationship without first having a clear vision of who and what you want to be. What life is fulfilling to you? Do you want to build a family? Do you want a globe-trotting career? There’s no right or wrong answers — you just need to be honest with yourself (and anyone else who comes into your life).
Avoid limiting your dream out of some desperate attempt to seek companionship. No relationship is worth a misalignment of happiness and fulfillment. Stay true to yourself and find someone who is looking to travel in the same direction. Get as specific as you can and don’t hold back. Establishing a clear vision of your future will help you to better identify the type of person who is ready to enter your life for the long-haul.
Putting it all together…
When it comes to building a long-term relationship, there are specific qualities we should be looking for in our partners. From confidence to a sense of humor, these specifics are important…but they aren’t the bottom line. In order to bring the right person in our lives for love, we have to first learn how to love ourselves and become the type of partner that we want.
Be the partner you seek to attract. Don’t expect someone grand to come into your life when you’re operating at a lower standard than you could be. To meet the right person, we have to be in the right places. That happens when we cultivate enough self-confidence to pursue the things you want and learn how to meet our own physical and emotional needs. Set some standards and some boundaries, then get specific about what your vision for the future is. The perfect partner for us is out there and waiting, but they first need us to realize our own power and self-worth. If you’re ready for love, take the initiative, take action, and become the person you were always meant to be.