I feel like I have this burning secret.
I walked through life thinking the best qualities in a partner are among what any young adult would answer when posed that question.
In fact, when researchers asked what women and men wanted most in a partner, they listed similar qualities, like kindness, intelligence, and attractiveness.
Those are all great, but I’ve come to realize that the qualities that make for exceptional, stand-the-test-of-time partners are incredibly overlooked. So much so that I worry they wouldn’t even rank in people’s top five.
So I want to bring these qualities to the forefront. I want to put them in the beaming, warm spotlight they deserve.
Because finding a life partner is complicated. You can’t possibly know what you want until you experience it.
But you can be more aware of what to look—qualities that stand to make for the most fulfilling relationship you’ve ever been in.
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is the quality I didn’t realize I needed from someone until I had it.
EQ is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions. It’s also the ability to realize your impact on others. Instead of bottling up or being completely unaware of what you’re feeling, you have the words and awareness to express your emotions.
Some people have a challenging time putting into words what they’re feeling. Maybe it’s due to a lack of showing emotion in their family. Perhaps they were even ordered to turn off their feelings.
But luckily for all those people, it’s possible to increase your EQ.
Finding a partner with a high EQ or willingness to increase theirs is like winning the lottery. Life is a long journey, with ups and downs. Having a partner that can communicate their feelings and express appreciation for you is going to make for a relationship that can withstand plenty.
I hesitated using this word for what I’m trying to describe. “Comfortable,” when used in relationships, seems to connote settling down, which is ridden with all sorts of negative stigmas.
But hear me out: When I use the word comfortability, I mean your partner making you feel like you can be your authentic self.
I didn’t even know this was a thing until I started dating my new boyfriend. I walk down the street dancing and singing, doing whatever I want because I know he loves me for all of it. I can talk about my dreams of one day owning a coffee shop in a quaint little down. I can also talk about the fact that our Mediterranian dinner made me gassy AF.
Through this feeling of being loved and accepted, I realize more and more of my authentic self I’ve hidden away.
And whatever you would call that quality—comfortability or something else—it’s something I cherish in my partner; it’s something I hope everyone finds.
This is an umbrella term for a lot of things.
Openness to understanding you. Openness to new ways of thinking. Openness to people unlike them. Openness to a deep kind of love.
Some people are firmly rooted in their beliefs. They see things one way and won’t budge for a new perspective.
Other people are jaded from their past. They can’t move through the pain they experienced when they were younger. Because of that, they’ll always be a toe out the door.
It’s a quality in a person that they didn’t bring upon themselves — but that can change. The question is if they even want to change. Because a lot of people don’t.
A relationship without understanding and room for growth doesn’t seem like a fulfilling one. To continually be shut out by your partner and watch opportunities for a greater understanding of one’s self and the world is something you’ll only be able to put up with for so long.
These qualities might be harder to spot in a person, but when you come across them, I implore you to appreciate them for what they’re worth.
Who we date in life and choose to spend our time with is a big but fulfilling decision; that is, if we can pay attention to certain overlooked qualities.