Every person and every relationship is an individual, and what is a deal breaker for you might be a must-have quality for someone else. It is important to make your own list of ideal qualities for a potential mate to possess, and to identify which ones are absolutely essential to you. However, no matter who you are or where you are in life, there are a few basic factors that are critical to long-term relationship success. Here are 7 qualities that should be non-negotiable.
- 1. Integrity
Love is hard work, and only someone with a strong character is well prepared to handle its challenges. Look for honesty tempered by compassion, reliability, dependability, and an unflinching ability to meet life head on. Your partner should not make promises lightly. When a promise is made, he should do everything in his power to honor that promise. When things go awry, a person with integrity owns his portion of responsibility and works toward a solution.
- 2. Empathy
Empathy is the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes and connect with his emotions. Equal parts compassion, active listening, and helpful problem solving, empathy can be learned with repeated practice. If your partner has trouble showing empathy, explain exactly what behaviors you expect. If she shows genuine effort, be patient, but if she refuses to try, it might be better to move on.
- 3. Openness
Keeping secrets, hiding thoughts and behaviors, and glossing over difficult circumstances rapidly erode the trust and intimacy that are crucial to a loving relationship. If your partner is circumspect, refuses to discuss important matters, or tries to deflect questions, take it as a sign that she is not ready for a serious relationship.
- 4. Strong Moral Compass
Some people are guided by their religious beliefs, and are unwilling to date those who do not share their beliefs. Others find their moral compass in philosophy, science, or everyday observation of the world around them. Regardless of background or beliefs, a strong moral compass is essential for a healthy relationship. Those with questionable morals and situational ethics are unpredictable and difficult to trust. It is also important that your individual morals and values are compatible. You do not need to believe exactly the same things, but you need to agree on the basics of how you will conduct your lives and raise your children.
- 5. Stability
Stability is crucial for those considering a long-term relationship. However, it means something slightly different to everyone. Some common types of stability are financial stability, job stability, and emotional stability. You might need all three to feel secure, or you might prioritize just one or two. People who are unstable in every aspect of their lives, however, tend to have unstable relationships as well.
- 6. Commitment
Your partner does not need to put you on a pedestal, but he should be genuinely committed to making your relationship work. However, commitment issues are extremely common, especially in the early days of a relationship.
To decide whether it is worth giving your relationship more time, consider your partner’s other commitments. Is he devoted to his children? Does she go the extra mile at work, even when she is mad at her boss? Those who have a few lasting commitments in their lives are more likely to honor a commitment to you.
- 7. Goals
Goals are the way that we keep our lives on track and moving forward. Without goals, people tend to stagnate and even regress. Ask your partner where he sees himself in 5 or 10 years. A detailed plan is not necessary, but those who have few goals for the future tend to live in the moment and be reluctant to move forward with a partner.
In addition, your goals should be compatible. If you envision wildly different futures, it will be difficult or impossible to sustain your relationship over time.
Every person has individual ideas about the best qualities that an ideal partner would possess, and which qualities are worth compromising. However, the 7 qualities listed above are key to a successful long-term relationship, and should be non-negotiable. Of course, these qualities apply to both partners. Take a hard look at yourself to ensure that you are truly ready for lasting love.
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