Some might call me an expert on dating and relationships. I’m not. Rather, I’m just a longtime family law attorney who has spent the last 13 years working with people who have a wide array of personality traits and types as they navigate into and out of marriage while still holding “heartful” integrity. Because I handle both divorces and prenuptial agreements, I have the rare opportunity to see couples at all stages of their love life, which means seeing them truly at their very worst, as well as at their very best.
Given the large number of couples I’ve seen wed happily ever after, as well those who’ve fallen apart for reasons big and small, the relationships that seem the strongest to me — those in which the couple doesn’t merely work well together, but in which both partners clearly experience joy, security, and satisfaction by each other’s side — are those in which each person shares certain dominant personality traits that benefit them both.
If you’re still hoping to find true love with your soulmate, here’s a list of five personality traits to look for in a significant other.
Do they actively strive for a balance between work, life, family and wellness?
When you’re young, you can work and work and work and still time for each other. But especially once kids come along, that all changes rapidly, so if your partner shows signs of not being able to balance work and life now while you’re both as carefree as you’ll ever be, that’s a big red flag.
Choose a partner who finds value in the “pause” — viewing time together on slower days as an opportunity to build greater connection, innovation and inspiration with each other. Being as loyal to your own leisure as you are to your work isn’t only sexy, it’s healthy.
2. Joyful independence
Do they have a happy and healthy relationship with themselves?
Self love may seem like it’s just a trend, but it’s here to stay, and thankfully so. It’s easy to get caught up in having fun together at the start of a relationship, but it’s important to stay engaged in self care.
If your partner doesn’t show love to themselves, it could be a sign they don’t believe in their own value as an individual, and that they may be more likely to settle for a so-so relationship than to search for their soulmate.
No matter how badly you may want this to be “the one,” settling only leads to splitsville.
Will they have your back no matter what?
As time goes on, we naturally start sharing our relationship ups and downs with the people we love the most. And while our friends and family typically mean well, they often form opinions without seeing the whole picture, choosing to hear what they want to out of the desire to “protect” you.
Will your partner have your back no matter what their own family and friends say about you? Will they trust that whatever someone outside of your relationships thinks of what you’ve said or done is that person’s biased opinion, and not necessarily a reflection of who they know you are or what they know your relationship is?
Loyal folks special people. They see you as you are and refuse to allow societal norms or the opinions of others to dictate their feelings about you.
Do they make you laugh?
Simple, I know. But not everyone has a sense of humor and certainly not everyone appreciates the sense of humor of their partner. The happiest couples that come through my office find joy in the mundane by making each other laugh at things that make the rest of us scratch our heads.
Couples who laugh together seem to have a much stronger bond, and can more easily overcome conflict and stress. Injecting a little humor into your life keeps you happy, and let’s face it, happier people have happier relationships.
5. Curiosity about others
Do they truly listen to you, or are they too busy posting on Instagram?
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Ok, that might sound like I’m talking to my 6-year-old, but it’s true. A partner that can truly hear you and support you rather than constantly comparing whatever you have to say to his or her own experiences is super important.
Listening is a skill that not a ton of people have. It doesn’t always involve problem solving and it’s a key relationship skill. A good listener makes eye contact, doesn’t interrupt you, and shows genuine interest.
So in addition to be a good listener, finding a significant other who is curious and empathetic isn’t just a bonus, it’s a must.