Sometimes I think we got it all wrong when looking for a partner. Our culture of impermanence make us think that it is OK to use and dispose of people – so we do it frequently. This feeds a vicious cycle of unhappiness and loneliness. Our approach, when we start our search, is based on the wrong values. We tend to focus on very volatile and easy to fake characteristics: looks, clothing style, financial independence, propensity for adventure, etc etc.
First of all, let’s take a look at the most commonly sought after characteristic and see how ridiculous it really is:
Yes, it is important to feel attracted to our partners. But how many College or High school sweethearts end up marrying, only to be disgusted by their partners just a few years later? Their partners and/or themselves don’t pay attention to their own maintenance, hygiene, etc. Let’s face it, there will always be someone out there whos is more attractive than the person we’re with. And even if you’re the type of person who really takes care of their physique and image, it is easy to reach a point of narcissism that leaves the other person out of the picture. So, what’s the point?
2 – Financial Independence
WTF does that mean? Having a job? A 6-figure income? If you have an excellent job, aren’t you dependent on keeping that job anyways? Or does this mean not having any debt? So are you looking for a person that doesn’t have a mortgage or leased car? Whatever this means, it is always easy to pretend that we make more than we really do. Are you looking for a workaholic that doesn’t pay attention to you in less than 6 months down the road? Where is the balance? How can you tell from just the few first dates?
3 – Propensity for Adventure (aka – likes to travel)
Who the hell doesn’t? If I find someone that, from the bottom of their heart, tells me that they don’t like to travel, I might even be attracted to them just because they would be such a rare case. Look, everybody likes adventure and travelling, but how can you be “financially independent” if you depend on making money in order to travel? Which characteristic precedes the other?
You get the idea. I think we first need to find a place of peace, to get in touch with ourselves, and look for values instead of characteristics. And I am not minimizing the importance of attraction; what I’m saying is that, along with the looks, there are certain key values that are more likely to ensure long term love, passion, and happiness than others:
This value is key. It plays such an important role in relationships -from things like sex enjoyment to sharing house chores. It also ensures that he/she is a team player at work, which would make it more likely for him/her to become a valuable member of his/her team – increasing his/her chances to become professionally successful. It also tells us how reliable they would ben when building a family together. In order to spot selflessness, pay attention to the following indicators: Does this potential partner often use words like “mine”, “me”, “myself”? If the answer is yes then run as fast as you can in the other direction. If on the other hand, this person is able to relate to others and speak in terms of “we”, “us”, “ours”, then it is a good sign. Also pay attention to whether or not they ask you questions. Not the typical “what is your sign” type of questions, but questions about you. Also see if they are genuinely listening to your answer or if they’re just waiting for their turn to speak. If it is the latter, then run even faster because, most likely, you will end up being used to feed their ego. Sooner or later you might be tossed away.
This value is a fantastic predictor of how the partner will treat us whenever we need support, whenever a family member is sick, and of how well our home will be cared for. It can also foretell how sweet the relationship will be. The indicators to look for are: how well they already take care of their own stuff (ie. their car, their china, their home), and how they relate to their family. You can ask questions about their family and see if this person is argumentative, or if, on the contrary, they have a collaborative relationship. Has this potential partner helped others around him? If so, the chances you have a caring person in front of you are good!
I have learned, over time, just how immensely valuable this virtue really is. Kindness is a big predictor of the person’s capacity to have fun. In lieu of sitting at a party, or restaurant, judging how everybody else is worse than them/us, a kind person will rather focus in having actual fun, telling jokes, laughing, dancing, enjoying the food and appreciating our company. In times of conflict, a kind person will be more patient, less judgmental, and more open to different ideas. Kind people will seriously teach us many things. And if we’re able to recognize them, we will gain so much out of that relationship: fun, acceptance, openness, and a positive outlook towards our environment and social circles.
Here is what you need to take away from this post: increase your chances to find these values by practicing them yourself. You will be happier while you are in search of your lifelong partner.