We don't tend to "choose" those who we are attracted to. Some thing or some force tends to choose that for us. Whether that is biological, chemical or otherwise, we are naturally drawn to certain people and repelled from others. Although we do not typically have much say in those who we are initially attracted to, we certainly can control who we choose to invest our time and energy into and become romantically involved with. The next time that you find yourself "falling" for someone, or if you're actively involved in a partnership with someone you may be thinking twice about, make sure to know for certain that your love interest or significant other holds the vast majority of these twelve personality traits. You will be lucky and grateful if he/she does and you are certainly deserving of a significant other who holds and maintains the highest caliber of character.
Patience is huge. People are inherently flawed. Everyone is. So it is important to find a partner that is patient with your own shortcomings. And it goes without saying that you should, of course, treat them with that same mutual respect. Beyond that, patience is a virtue throughout every aspect of life. You would never want to find yourself in a relationship in which your partner pressures you to do things before you are ready. Patience in this regard is critical. You want a partner who is patient with you even when you may not be patient with yourself. Someone who encourages you to run that marathon next year because then you’ll be ready. You want a lover who doesn’t get angry if you take too long to get dressed up for your date. And then, ultimately, in the long run, patience is also paramount when raising children. So if you’re looking for a partner to last a lifetime, then patience is one of the most important personality traits you would want in a lover.
The power of gratitude can change everything. Being thankful for all of life’s blessings is sometimes overlooked. A partner that is grateful and who can remind you to be grateful as well is a beautiful thing. Gratitude can be a simple “thank you for cooking dinner” or a reminder of the beauty of the view outside your window, or gratitude can be shown by offering back and paying forward. Gratitude can be shown by holding your hand for joining your partner at a work event or it can be embodied by donating to charity or simply making you breakfast in bed for everything that you do. A partner that acknowledges gratitude is a person that truly understands your importance in his or her life. A person that truly feels grateful for all that life offers and grateful for having you in their life is a person that you want to cherish dearly.
Humor is the essence and the heart of any relationship, particularly a romantic one. A partner who is able to laugh at him or herself is a keeper. Someone that is able to look at life through a jovial and light-hearted lens is someone that you want to be around. Humor helps you to move through difficult situations with greater ease, keep you positive and optimistic, and perhaps most importantly, allows you to not take life or yourself so seriously. The ability to laugh is crucial to happiness and what is better than being able to joke, play and laugh with your significant other? Sharing laughter with your lover is not only extremely cathartic, it’s also just plain fun.
The only constant in life is change. Everything everywhere is constantly changing. A partner who is willing and able to adapt to these changes with grace and ease makes life that much easier. You want a partner that you are able to depend on even when life throws you lemons. Someone that is able to adapt and change to the changing circumstances both around you and within you is so important. Whether it is adapting to you losing your job or adapting to you moving cities, a partner that you can rely on to change and grow with you is a partner you want to keep.
Gentleness, softness, and tenderness are qualities that are comforting and soothing. You feel safe and loved in the arms of a person that is tender in their speech and their actions. Softness has a special way of making people feel comfortable and secure and there is nothing better than a tender touch or a gentle and kind word. There is sensitivity and sweetness in tender people and people with tender characteristics also tend to be the most affectionate and loving, and those are qualities that are so important to find in a significant other.
Tolerance is a characteristic that is important for everyone in your life, especially your lover. A tolerant partner understands you and is compassionate and accepting regardless of whether or not he or she agrees with your decisions or religion or friend choices, etc. A tolerant partner puts up with your nagging mother with grace and eloquence and befriends your annoying little brother. A tolerant partner accepts and loves you even when you’re grumpy. A tolerant partner does not judge people based on the color of their skin, the school that they went to, or their sexual preferences. A tolerant person is loving and accepting and compassionate to all and, most importantly, to you.
In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get, but what you give.” Relationships are a give and take. There are times when you may need your partner’s attention more than they need yours, and vice versa. It is important that your partner is giving enough to recognize these needs when they arise. And generosity expands far beyond that of money or material goods. An ideal partner would be generous with time, spirit, mind, and love. An ideal partner gives you all that you need and then more. The ability for a person to give him or herself to you is no small feat, and these vulnerable actions should be handled with the utmost care.
Intelligence stretches far beyond just being able to hold an interesting conversation. While this is, of course, ideal, there are also so many different forms of intelligence that are of different importance to different people. However, a level of both social and emotional intelligence is critical to healthy relationships. Your partner should be able to recognize cues from you to understand your own psyche. Your partner should have awareness of his or her own actions and their effects on you. Your partner should understand you on an emotional level so that he or she is able to support and encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Of course it is wonderful if your significant other is book smart or street smart, but it is of utmost importance for your lover to be emotionally intelligent.
Loyalty in a partner is immeasurable. A sense of security in which you feel you can trust and rely on your partner is vital. Feeling supported and encouraged by your partner creates a sense of ease and security. A person who is loyal always stands by your side and supports you in both your victories and your failures. Having a loyal and faithful partner beside you eases the mind and comforts the soul.
Not only is humility unbelievably sexy, it is also a defining point of a person’s true character. People who are overtly cocky tend to actually be severely insecure. People who exhibit and embody humility, tend to be secure and confident but also intelligent enough to realize that they have a great deal to learn in life. We are all constantly learning and those who recognize this fact are one huge step ahead of the rest. Being humble also creates gratitude as opposed to feelings of entitlement and a person that is grateful is a person who will not take you for granted.
Dave Barry’s adage aptly applies to relationships: “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.” Kindness is a quality that is of crucial importance to any relationship. A person that is truly kind treats everyone around them with respect and consideration, most importantly you. Of course, everyone has bad moods and “off” days and may snap every once in a while with a mean statement, but as a general rule, you want a partner that consistently treats you kindly, no matter what. Kindness is a characteristic that is imperative when arguing, as well. Unkind people throw low blows and bring up matters that you thought had previously been resolved. A person who is kind fights with clarity, dignity, and respect speaking only of the issues at hand without demeaning or belittling you as a person. A kind person will never attack your character, solely your mistakes. Find a partner who treats you kindly and constantly makes you feel loved and appreciated and watch how everything within your life changes.
Perhaps the most important characteristic that you want to find in a partner is empathy. Empathetic people not only sympathize with other’s struggles, but they also feel them. The ability to see and recognize your joys and your pains and understand them on the deepest of levels is certainly not something small. This ability to so intrinsically feel with you helps to avoid a multitude of pains and, instead, creates a plethora of joys. To know that your partner feels and understands what you are going through when your mother dies, for example, is the ultimate comfort. To have a shoulder to cry on and a friend to laugh with during the worst and the best of times is one of the most comforting and fulfilling thoughts. After all, isn’t that why we make partnerships in life: to be able to share and support each other in our happiest and saddest moments? Sharing your life with an empathetic partner is a truly beautiful connection and a truly worthy and supportive partnership.