Getting into a relationship with the person you like is the ultimate goal for many people when it comes to their love lives. It takes a lot of self-confidence and great trust in others to put your feelings out there, but is this enough to successfully build and maintain a healthy relationship?
They say love is a risk, yet there are always signs when you got a good thing going on vs when you’re stuck in something toxic.
This is why it’s important to do some self-reflection and soul searching before getting involved with anyone, for both sides’ sake.
“What are you looking for in a relationship?” is a question you need to carefully think about and answer so you can evaluate whether or not a certain relationship is worth investing time, effort, and emotions in.
While it’s true that different people have different psychological and physical needs to seek from their romantic relationships, there’s a set of traits that characterizes strong, long-lasting relationships.
Today, I’m discussing 16 essential traits to look for in a relationship to help you establish them with your partner.
A cornerstone in any strong relationship -even non-romantic ones- is trust. Putting your trust in a partner means that you believe you can depend on them to not do anything that’ll hurt you.
Whether it’s lying, cheating, sabotaging your efforts or image, or not being there for you in times of need, trust is how you know that your partner won’t intentionally cause negative effects on your well-being.
2. Emotional Maturity
Being emotionally mature is being able to handle your emotions in various events with a high level of self-understanding.
Emotional maturity in a romantic relationship allows both partners to better identify their emotions and clearly express what they’re feeling. A lot of arguments are triggered by a person incorrectly translating and handling their emotions, so they end up conveying a different feeling and acting upon it.
For example, a person getting fired is disappointed in themselves, not mad at their partner for having to support them. An emotionally mature person would recognize the difference and not take it out on their partner.
Instead, they’ll ask for their partner’s support while they work on improving their skills and finding a solution.
When a person is open to different views other than their own, it means they’re open to change.
In a relationship, openness is the difference between hearing your partner and actually listening. It’s the trait that enables your partner to take in what you’re saying, process your point of view, and agree that changes in their self-limiting behaviors need to happen.
Respect is the foundation of self-worth, and without it being mutual, a relationship would never be healthy and happy.
A partner that respects you will never look down on you, belittle you, insult you, or stand for others doing such things. They’ll acknowledge your feelings and needs, treat you as an equal, and be happy with your success as if it’s their own.
Honesty in a relationship is a must in every aspect. Whether it’s talking about feelings, planning activities, or expressing opinions, your partner should be honest through it all.
Sadly, many people think that lying is important for a relationship to survive, so they lie about where they’ve been, what’s on their minds, how they usually behave, or even their preferences to seem more likable or to save themselves from the hassle of being genuine.
The truth is, if your relationship suffers because of honesty, then it’s just not right. Dishonesty creates an air of secrecy that eventually leads to mistrust and insecurity.
I’m a firm believer that empathy should be a part of any relationship as it helps us understand what the person is going through and where their feelings are coming from.
If your partner has trouble validating your emotions, then they won’t be able to comfort you when you’re down or be happy when you’re excited.
Empathy is vital to the sharing aspect of a relationship. Without it, you won’t feel the emotional support you’re supposed to have with a partner.
“Just be yourself” and “They should love you for who you are” are two of the most commonly referenced phrases in the world of relationships, and rightfully so.
If your partner can’t be their true self with you or if they can’t accept your nature, then what’s the point? Do you even like each other?
A standard sign of a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate with one another. Talking about feelings, opinions, hopes, fears, insecurities, ambitions, and everything in between should be a priority in your relationship.
Your partner should be able to communicate their thoughts, or at least accepting of the idea and willing to work on it. Otherwise, how are you two supposed to grow together?
9. Conflict Management
The strength of a relationship is truly tested when there’s conflict. The way the conflict is managed can provide insight into the mental health status of both parties.
This is why you should look for a partner who can join you in managing conflicts in a constructive way. Instead of ignoring or fighting about the issues, you should work together to resolve them without hurting one another and then learn from the experience for the future.
Appreciation keeps you motivated to invest effort and time into various aspects of the relationship.
Expressing gratitude for the actions or gestures you offer to your partner is essential to make you feel secure, confident, and loved. It can be a simple “thank you” after grabbing their phone from the bedroom or a hug after you’ve listened to their day at the office.
If you’re the only side in the relationship that gives, then it’s a toxic link that needs to be fixed or broken. I’m not just talking about materialistic stuff like gifts and chores, but also sentimental things like care and affection.
You can’t be the only one that keeps texting, calling, buying gifts, hugging, kissing, listening, supporting, and so on. A relationship is two-way — you give and take.
This one is obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many supposedly romantic relationships lack affection. Love is a concept that requires both words and actions to prove.
Being scared or embarrassed to show affection is a legit problem among couples, especially at the beginning of the relationship or after a year or two of being together. The thing is, affection can be demonstrated in the simplest of acts or words – it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture every time.
Your partner can show affection by holding hands while you’re talking, remembering your medication schedule, a random “I love you”, or even letting you have the last slice of pizza! Affection and love can manifest in so many forms, you just need someone who does something.
A healthy relationship drives you to be better.
Whether it’s mentally, physically, socially, practically, or any other aspect of life be it individually or as a unit, you want a partner that motivates you to improve yourself and supports your ambitions. The reason is simple, it proves how much they care.
If your partner is invested in helping you expand and succeed, then they’re prioritizing your well-being. They care about how you value yourself and want to see you act to your full potential.
Being able to own up to a mistake or action shows a great deal of mental stability, which is why accountability is important to look for in a partner.
Someone who always finds a way to blame others and avoid responsibility isn’t going to provide you with the type of relationship you deserve. They’ll lack openness, honesty, and the will to address or fix problems.
15. Sense of Humor
Partners who laugh together stay together, that’s just a fact. If your partner shares a similar sense of humor, you’ll be able to have fun together even when things get tough.
A level of Independence is necessary for the stability of a relationship. If your partner relies too much on you, their family, or their friends, the situation is bound to become frustrating.
While your partner should share with you the making of big decisions, they should also be able to handle making choices on their own. It shows how dependable and responsible they are.
There you have it, 16 essential traits to answer the question “what are you looking for in a relationship?”.
Of course, what you need from a romantic relationship or what deems a relationship successful in your eyes isn’t the same for every person.
So, I invite you to self-reflect and carefully consider the traits discussed above to form a solid understanding of a healthy relationship before getting involved with a partner.