Many of us have long lists of things we want from our partner, but which are the most important?
When we strip it down, many of us are looking for the same things in our quest for a healthy relationship.
In this article, we’re counting x qualities a boyfriend or girlfriend should have.
Keep in mind that what everyone need in a relationship is different. These are generally the mot agreed-upon basics that every healthy relationship includes.. These are the qualities a boyfriend or girlfriend should have.
Let’s face it, a person can check off all the things on this list or your personal list. But if there’s no connection, there’s likely just a friend. “Connection” can be hard to define because it’s a feeling, a certain je ne sais quoi. But YOU know what it is and whether you have it with someone.
Sure, life is serious, but it doesn’t always need to feel that way. It’s a whole lot more fun to go on life’s adventures with someone with a sense of humor. It’s also a good quality to fall back on when someone makes a mistake or inevitably does something embarrassing. Having a partner who’s too stoic can make a relationship difficult to read, boring and lackluster.
A relationship shouldn’t change everything about you or the major parts. However, it’s healthy in a relationship to improve the ways you communicate with each other. For example, maybe your partner wants to be spoken to in a calmer tone. Perhaps they don’t like when you make certain types of jokes. A good partner will change the simple things that can make a big difference. They’ll do what they can to make you feel better and accommodate your communication style.
In a healthy relationship, you won’t feel as if you’re pulling all the weight. Although there’s times in every relationship where someone is taking on more than the other, that responsibility will usually shift back and forth between life’s seasons. If you notice you’re always putting in effort and your partner isn’t contributing, they’re not likely the person for you. You deserve someone who can also plan dates, do nice things or pay you nice compliments.
“Safety” is often an attribute used to describe how a man should make a woman feel. In reality though, regardless of genders, every person should feel safe with their partner. This means physically, as in there will be no harm. But it also means emotionally, as in, I trust that what I tell you is safe with you. You shouldn’t question whether your partner will use your insecurities against you. You should feel safe that they’ll make you feel okay.
People want to be in a relationship for many reasons. Many of them are self-fulfilling—they want someone to spend time with, to take to parties, to hear their problems. But the right partner will genuinely care about your well-being, even when they’re not involved. They’ll be someone who looks out for your physical and emotional health. When something seems amiss, they’ll be there and encourage you to get help.
Everyone has a different level of how much affection they want or expect in a relationship. The important thing to know is that you’re allowed to want how much you want. Often, we can get stuck with partners who don’t care to hug us or hold our hands. They’re allowed to want a low level of affection. But we’re also allowed to find someone else who wants more. It’s a healthy part of a relationship.
One of the most important qualities of a partner is honestly. To grow a sense of trust with them, it’s critical that they’re honest. Not only do they tell the truth to themselves, you and others, but they’re able to say it kindly as well. If you’re with someone who prides themselves on being “honest” to excuse their asshole behavior, consider which trait is really running the show. A honest partner can say the truth while also being kind.
Your partner should make you feel good about yourself. Although it’s not their responsibility to build your self-confidence, it is their responsibility to say or do things that support it. It’s normal for a partner to compliment you on your appearance, intelligence, accomplishments, efforts, etc.
Sex isn’t right for every relationship, but if it’s right for you, make sure it’s good. Both partners in a relationship should want to satisfy each other. If one is constantly getting more pleasure than the other, that’s not right. Your partner should be able to adjust what they’re doing to what makes you feel good too.
It sucks to pour a lot of effort into someone and for it to go unnoticed. A good partner should appreciate and be grateful for the things you do. Maybe it’s cooking dinner, baking their favorite dessert, fixing their car, hanging their shelves, listening to their problems, leaving work early to be there, etc. The right partner will see the effort you put in and thank you for it.
Everyone wants a partner who thinks of them even when they’re not with them. And you deserve that too. A good sign someone is thinking and caring about you are the small things they do to prove it:
Respect is probably the #1 quality to look for in both relationships and friendships. You want to make sure the person is kind to you and treats your properly. They should respect your boundaries, feelings, comfort levels and needs.
A good partner will take responsibility for their own life. Even if they’re not stable in their career or finances yet, that should be a hope they’re working toward. You should also feel safe giving them responsibility from your life too. In other words, you should feel like you’re dating a whole adult, not a child who you need to babysit and worry about all the time.
When you first start dating someone, you should want to know more and more about them. Whether it’s their hobbies, job, personality, the way they talk or act, you should be genuinely curious and excited to know more about them. As the relationship grows and you learn more, your curiosity may wean, but you should still have that sense of learning more about them as times passes.
It’s hard to find people who are good at tough conversations—but it’s worth it. A long term relationship is a lot of work. Even though you love someone a lot, it requires a lot of communication and compromise. For that to work, your partner will need to have some skills in the ‘tough conversation’ department. That means they should be able to be real and vulnerable while still being calm and respectful. Many people walk out, refuse to have or blow up tough topics when they come up. A good partner will calmly sit with you through them, no matter how uncomfortable and infuriating, to come to a resolution.
When you’re not feeling good about yourself or a situation, a good partner will reassure you and tell you that they love you, etc. For example, if you’re nervous about a job interview, they will amp up your confidence and support you. If you’re feeling less than pretty that day, they’ll tell you that you’re beautiful in their eyes. These small basic actions are normal parts of emotional care for them.
It’s very difficult to have a relationship with someone who views the world from a completely different perspective. I won’t way it’s impossible—but in my experience, it’s highly unpleasant and even toxic. For example, if you attend BLM protests and your partner is whining on social media about how “white lives matter,” it can be hard to bridge the bigot gap. Although you don’t need to agree on everything, differences on 2 ends of the spectrum can be hard to overcome. One of my exes was a hardcore Trump supporter while I—valued almost everything he didn’t. Rather than trying to make someone see your perspective on big issues, sometimes it’s easier just to find someone with more similar beliefs.
You should be able to be vulnerable with the person you’re in a relationship with. You should feel comfortable and trust them enough to tell them your worries or fears. And they should treat them in a way that’s respectful and safe. They should be able to share the same vulnerabilities and openness with you too.
In a relationship, your partner won’t always see what your life is like and they won’t always agree with your point-of-view. The good news is that they don’t have to. But they should be able to walk in your shoes to try to understand a situation. If your partner is unwilling to see outside of their own point of view, they will typically never amend their actions. When we can walk in other’s shoes, we’re better able to understand their perspective and have empathy.
Forgiving too much and too quickly can be a bad thing. But in relationships, you will need to learn to forgive each other or else you will never move on. If someone doesn’t have this skill, they won’t be able to be in a long term commitment. Instead, they will get angry at small arguments and walk away the first time they happen. A good partner should be able to resolve issues and forgive and move past them when necessary.
An element of surprise is welcome in many situations in a relationship. For example, a surprise gift or date. However, in many cases, it’s better to have a partner who is all-around predictable and stable. Someone who’s unpredictable can show up randomly, not text for days, not be reliable and eventually degrade your trust. A predictable partner will be there.
You and your partner don’t need to share all the same hobbies, but it helps in making your time together more enjoyable. For example, maybe your main hobbies don’t align. But you still find joy in taking hikes together, playing board games or cooking.
There comes many times in a relationship where we are wrong. What matters is how we change from that situation. A good partner will take accountability and change. For example, if they said something that hurt you, they will genuinely say sorry and take actions to prevent it from happening in the future.
It’s hard to be in a heartfelt relationship with someone who is emotionally closed off, shut down or unavailable. If they can’t open themselves up enough, it can be difficult to connect on a deeper level. The right person should be able to be emotional when appropriate.
When you hurt, your partner should care. If you are sad, crying, or upset, your partner should not laugh or be indifferent to that. They may disagree with you. Or dislike how you’re acting in that moment. But they should still have a genuine interest in you feeling better. Seeing you upset should make them upset.
When you’re with the right partner, it should feel like they will be there for you when the going gets tough. If you’re going through a difficult situation, they will sit with you through it and hold you while you cry. If you’re going through a happy situation, they’ll be proud of you and celebrate your successes. No matter what personal changes you’re facing, they’re there for the long haul.
What everyone looks for in a partner is different because we all have varying wants and needs. Despite that, there’s some basic qualities that most agree we should keep in mind. Above all, your partner should treat you with respect and kindness. You should feel safe when you’re around them and you should feel stable in the relationship. The qualities a boyfriend or girlfriend should have will change by relationship, but don’t compromise on your needs.
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